Updated: 05/29/2014 23:33 | By Agence France-Presse

Taiwan ex-minister ordered to pay over wrongful execution

A former Taiwanese defence minister and five ex-military officials have been ordered to pay a total of nearly $2 million over the wrongful execution of an airman 17 years ago, a court said Thursday.

Taiwan ex-minister ordered to pay over wrongful execution

Chen Chao-min speaks in his capacity as Taiwan defence minister during a press conference in Taipei on August 18, 2009. AFP Photo / Sam Yeh

Former minister Chen Chao-min and the five others were ordered to pay the money to the defence ministry to compensate it for the $4.4 million it paid out to the family of airman Chiang Kuo-ching five years ago.

A military court in 2011 posthumously acquitted Chiang of raping and killing a five-year-old girl at an air force base in Taipei in 1996, ruling that his confession was extracted and evidence used to convict him was insufficient.

He was executed the following year at the age of 21. 

Taipei's district court said in a statement on Thursday that Chen and the other defendants had broken the law by authorising intelligence officers to extract a confession and putting Chiang in confinement.

Chen served as defence minister in 2008-2009 and was air force commander at the time of the case.

The case provoked intense criticism of the judiciary and prompted President Ma Ying-jeou to apologise to Chiang's family in person.

In a letter home, Chiang had insisted he was innocent and had been coerced into confessing to the crime by a group of air force intelligence officers. 

Chiang's father, who died in 2010, had repeatedly appealed to various government agencies to clear his son's name, which eventually led to the prosecution reopening the case in 2010.

Taipei's district prosecutors' office in 2011 charged ex-serviceman Hsu Rong-chou with the girl's murder. However, Hsu was acquitted by the high court last year due to insufficient evidence.

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