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May 5 2009 | TAIWAN


High Court overturns death penalty for Filipino woman Armia Menecia Panaglima

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Taiwan High Court overturns death penalty for Filipino woman

By DPA - May 4, 2009

Taipei - The Taiwan High Court on Monday overturned a district court's death penalty for a Filipino woman, giving her a life sentence for killing a Taiwanese woman.

'We changed the death sentence to a life term for Armia Menecia Panaglima because the killing was an accident, and was not premediated,' High Court spokesman Wong Ching-chen told reporters.

Armia, 40, was silent during the court hearing. After she was told by an interpreter that her death sentence had been changed to life sentence, she said 'thank you' to the judge, according to TV reports.

Relatives of the victim, Chiu Mei-yun, 48, were angry about the high court's ruling and vowed to appeal.

'They think there are diplomatic factors in the change of the ruling because the Philippines has abolished the death penalty, so Manila put pressure on Taiwan to give Armia a lighter sentence,' Kaohsiung City Councillor Chen Mei-chuan told reporters.

'They told me they will appeal the ruling,' she added.

Last week, Armia's family members held a news conference in Manila, urging President Gloria Arroyo to apeal to Taiwan to spare Armia the death penalty, because the Philippines has abolished the death penalty.

'But Chiu's family members claim that Armia committed the crime in Taiwan, so she should be tried under Taiwan's law,' Chen said.

Armia killed Chiu, a job broker for foreign teachers in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, during a fight on September 12, 2007.

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