23 Dec 2012

Killers executed in Taiwan

11:02 am on 23 December 2012

Taiwan executed six convicts by firing squad on Friday in its first use of the death penalty this year.

The deputy justice minister said the brutality of the men's crimes meant there was no reason to show mercy.

Amnesty International said the executions were "cold-blooded killing''.

The executions were carried out in three separate prisons: two in the capital, Taipei, two in the central city of Taichung and two in the south of the island.

All six men had been convicted of murder.

A BBC correspondent said public debate over the death penalty is inflamed at present following the death of a boy in a video arcade.

The suspect reportedly said he would get life in prison at most "even if he were to kill two or three". He also reportedly said he would get free room and board in prison.

Though religious and human rights groups oppose capital punishment, surveys suggest that most of the population support the death penalty.

According to the Central News Agency, 55 inmates remain on death row inmates. Taiwan executed five prisoners in March 2011 and four in April 2010.