TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan executed 4 people on Friday, the justice ministry said, in the island's first cases of capital punishment since 2005 when the sentence became a sensitive political issue.
4 inmates convicted of crimes connected to a murder case were executed late on Friday, the ministry said in a statement, following years of fractious debate that saw the ministry's chief quit last month in protest.
"The justice ministry gave death penalty orders to the 4 people on April 28 and the order was carried out on April 30," the one-line statement said.
Ex- Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng and Amnesty International have urged Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to scrap the death penalty.
Abolition of the law, which is widely supported, might hurt the government ahead of November local polls. A further 40 inmates remain on death row, the ministry said on Friday. Around 500 inmates were executed between 1987 and 2005.