TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Nationalist government Friday released about 6,000 prisoners, including 19 political detainees, in a mass amnesty marking the 100th day since President Chiang Ching-kuo's death.
Huang Shih-min, a Justice Ministry official, said about 16,000 other prisoners, including 11 charged with sedition, had their sentences reduced. They remained behind bars pending completion of the shortened jail terms.
Justice officials said the release of 6,054 gangsters, drug addicts, corrupt officials and other convicted criminals began at dawn after brief ceremonies held at jails throughout the island.
President Lee Teng-hui proposed the commutations in February after succeeding Chiang, who died of heart failure on Jan. 13. Lee, the first native Taiwanese to head the Nationalist government, approved final details of the plan on Tuesday.
Under the commutation, death sentences were reduced to life imprisonment, life sentences to 15 years and lesser sentences were cut by one-third or one-half.