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Attorneys’ Statement for Illegal Arrests of Demonstrators

The article one of Attorney Regulation Act of Taiwan states, “The Mission of an attorney is to promote social justice, protect human rights, and promote to democracy and the rule of law.” Therefore, we cannot standby when police arrest protestors without due process. We, as attorneys, would not remain silence and hereby state as follows:

1. The People have the right to express their opinion freely without fears and intimidation of the State.

The rights of Personal Freedom and the Freedom of Expression are to be protected by the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This belief is fundamental to every attorney and should also be understood by every citizen. Civil Rights shall by no means to be offended by state apparatus. Protecting people to express themselves freely without fears is one of the elements of a modern, democratic country.

2. Chilling effects of Illegal arrests of demonstrators would cause irreversible damage to democratic society

We have seen the protestors injured and arrested by police on trumped-up charges, without following proper procedure in the Code of Criminal Procedure. This not only violates the rights of the people, the chilling effect also cause a regression of democracy.

3. The brutal and inappropriate law enforcement is not abiding the law but violence in disguise.

We condemned inappropriate enforcement of law. We also caution law enforcement officers to bear in mind to protect people’s rights and to maintain the spirits of rule of law.When the behavior of protestors does not constitute immediate and obvious danger, police officers shall not undertake compulsory measures. Illegal and harsh measures do not bring peace and is merely violence in disguise.

We also call on the higher authority commanding the police to take the responsibility of your decision rather than encouraging police officers to clash with the protestors while risking to turn police officers into illegal law enforcers.

4. Each citizen has the responsibility protect the freedom of expression and safeguard rights to different opinions

Diversity of opinions is the root of creativity and essence to the continuous development of a society. The freedom of expression and toleration of different opinion is the foundation of Taiwan’s hard-earned democracy.

History shows that freedom does not happen on its own. It derives from individuals’ continuous fighting for it. General public may not always express their opinions in public domain all the time, however, when the core values of Taiwan society that we cherish and are proud of, the spirit of rule-of-law, human rights and tolerance of different opinions, are being infringed upon, we, as attorneys, have chosen to not remain silent.We call on all people to stand up and protect the freedom of expression from regression. We will help maintain space for the diversity of different opinion and the right to free speech for our descendants. Tomorrow’s Taiwan will remember our cry today. For our next generations’ sake, we sought to protect the diversity of opinions, to fight for freedom of expression, oppose the use of coercion. This is the mission of each citizen in Taiwan and the promise we make to our children.