|Ex-U.N. rapporteur vows to help Taiwan death row inmate|
Manfred Nowak, a U.N. special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment between 2004 and 2010, told CNA Tuesday that he was not able to handle the case of Chiu Ho-shun because he did not receive a complaint until the end of his mandate.
But now that a Taiwanese group had filed a complaint, Nowak said he would ask his successor Juan Mendez to follow up on Chiu's case and let Mendez know that he had met with the death row inmate.
Nowak, a professor at the University of Vienna in Austria, visited Chiu at the Taipei Detention Center earlier Tuesday.
In late July, the Supreme Court ended Chiu's lengthy trial by upholding the death sentence of the defendant, who was charged with abducting and murdering a school child from Hsinchu City in December 1987.
Chiu was detained for four months during the investigation of the crime, and then after being convicted and sentenced to death for the first time in 1989, he was put in prison and kept there while his conviction was repeatedly appealed.
Documented videos and recordings have proved that Chiu and his accomplices were tortured by police during their four months in detention to extract confessions.
Their confessions were later presented as key evidence in the court proceedings, according to lawyers familiar with the case.
Chiu's confession extracted through torture and his sentence based on such confessions violate the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Nowak said at a seminar in Taipei.
"Twenty-three years of criminal trial is an obvious violation of the covenant," the human rights expert said.
Despite the Chiu case, however, Nowak still praised the development of human rights in Taiwan over the past few years since his first visit to the country.
Among Taiwan's efforts to protect human rights are the Legislative Yuan's ratification of the ICCPR and the U.N. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2009.
"I am very happy to hear that both covenants have been ratified by Taiwan," said Nowak, who is on his second visit to the country.
He also expressed his belief that the application of these covenants in Taiwan's domestic laws would help prevent such lengthy trials as seen in the Chiu case.
Nowak has already given two talks during his stay in Taiwan and will hold one workshop with Taiwanese nongovernmental organizations befor