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Taiwan justice minister resigns over death penalty dispute

[JURIST] Taiwanese Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng [official profile] resigned Thursday in defense of her position against the death penalty. Though Taiwan has not executed a criminal since 2005, Wang said she would not sign [BBC report] the execution warrants of any of the 44 prisoners [Taiwan News report] still on death row. Her resignation was sparked by possible criticism [Reuters report] of her position by the office of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou [JURIST news archive], a member of her own Kuomintang party. Three-fourths of Taiwanese citizens favor the death penalty. Taiwanese Premier Wu Den-yih has already appointed a replacement [CNA report].

In February, UN Under-Secretary-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze [official profile] praised the increase in the number of countries [JURIST report] that have suspended or abolished the death penalty. Speaking at the 4th World Congress Against the Death Penalty [FIDH backgrounder] in Geneva, Ordzhonikidze expressed hope that countries that have not abolished the death penalty would adopt the 2007 UN Resolution 62/149 [text], placing a moratorium on the use of capital punishment.

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