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Foreign lawmakers decry Taiwan's executions

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Visiting foreign lawmakers said Saturday they regretted the Taiwan government's decision to carry out executions for the first time in over four years.

Taiwan's Ministry of Justice executed four inmates Friday, leaving 40 others on death row. The execution came soon after the ministry held four hearings around Taiwan to collect public opinion about abolition of the death penalty.

"It is revolting that four people have been put to death by a civilized, wealthy country. This is barbaric, " Australian Greens leader and Senator Bob Brown told CNA on the sidelines of the Second Congress of the Asia Pacific Greens Network (APGN) , being held in Taipei between April 30 and May 2.

"It dehumanizes the governments that not only allow it to happen, but do not legislate against it," he added.

Australia ended the death penalty in the 1960s. Brown said that crime rates do not increase, and very often fall, after the death penalty is ended.

He urged Taiwan to abolish the death penalty through legislation. He also called on Taiwan to do better than the United States, China and Iran, countries that carry out what he called "murder with a judicial warrant." "We are all better off when we end this barbaric practice," Brown said.

Gerald Hafner, a German member of the European Parliament, also told CNA at the event that "I am very upset on that, very sad." "Whatever they have done, I think the death penalty is something we shouldn't do. We shouldn't kill people for having killed others, for having done wrong," Hafner said.

"I was happy that Taiwan didn't execute the death penalty ... for a period of time," he noted.

Pan Han-shen, the convener of Green Party Taiwan, which organized the congress, said that abolition of the death penalty has been one of the core values of the Global Green Network, a political alliance of Green Parties around the world.

"It is a shock to our international friends attending the congress because while they were promoting a resolution on the issue (at the event) , the Taiwan government suddenly took such a big step backward," he said.

More than 100 environmental leaders and activists from over 20 nations are taking part in the congress, which also features workshops on climate change.

The four executions prompted the Green Party Taiwan to launch a petition at the event that Pan said urges the Taiwan government not to "continue to walk the wrong path." Globally, Asia is the region with the greatest number of executions, the Green Party

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