A 50-year-old German man who was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to smuggle 2 kg of heroin from Thailand to Taiwan is set to be repatriated, Liberty Times reported.
The man was found guilty of drug smuggling in 2002 and has served almost 15 years of his life sentence. Under Taiwan’s Transfer of Foreign Persons Act (跨國移交受刑人法), foreigners convicted of crimes may make an appeal to be repatriated to serve their sentences in their home countries.
The act stipulates that at least one year must remain on the sentence before a person can be repatriated. Once repatriated, the convicted person would be subject to his or her home nation’s laws and sentencing guidelines. It also guarantees the right to a fair trial in the repatriated state before the Ministry of Justice will approve the transfer.
The Ministry of Justice has said that the man is in poor health, and therefore granted his request to be repatriated to Germany. The transfer is reportedly in the interest of providing the man educational opportunities as well as family visitation in light of his declining health.
The ministry noted that German drug sentencing is more lenient than Taiwan and the man is likely to be freed before completing the full sentence. After discussions with German authorities, Taiwan was assured that the man would serve at least one more year in prison in Germany before before being released.
Taiwanese law stipulates that those serving life sentences are eligible for parole after 15 years. The Transfer of Foreign Persons Act was initiated in 2003.