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Ex-president appeals life sentence: Office

The former president met with visitors for the first time since the sentence was announced

Ex-president appeals life sentence: Office

Former President Chen Shui-bian has filed an appeal with the Taiwan High Court against the life sentence he received for corruption and money laundering, his office said yesterday.
Last Friday, the Taipei District Court found him guilty on six counts and sentenced him to life in prison and a NT$200 million fine. Chen has insisted he is innocent, and the charges against were the result of a plot by the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) government and the judiciary against him. The cases involved a total of more than NT$800 million related to alleged bribes, misuse of special presidential funds, and money laundering, with other cases still under investigation.
Yesterday, he received visitors at the Taipei Detention Center for the first time since the verdict was announced.
One of the visitors, his office manager Liu Tao, told reporters afterward that Chen had filed an appeal. If the High Court's handling of the appeal was fair and transparent, Chen would consider defending himself in court, but otherwise he would not cooperate, Liu quoted the former president as saying. Out of protest against the District Court judges' handling of his case, Chen dismissed his legal team last May and refused to speak in court.
The High Court announced yesterday that its panel of judges presiding over Chen's appeal would be decided by drawing straws among its 86 judges.
The former president has been in custody as a suspect since Dec. 30. After last Friday's court rulings, supporters hoped he would soon be set free, but the court has until the end of his present detention term, Sept. 25, to reach a decision.
His wife Wu Shu-jen was sentenced to life and a NT$300 million fine after having been found guilty on seven charges. Their son Chen Chih-chung received two years and six months in jail and was fined NT$150 million, while daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching was sentenced to one year and eight months and a NT$150 million fine, though her sentence could be turned into five years probation if she came up with NT$200 million.
Huang first refused to answer questions from reporters awaiting her on her way to work as a piano teacher in Kaohsiung yesterday. "If I really have to go to prison, I will go," she later told the media.
Her husband, speaking separately, said they didn't have the ability to pay the NT$200 million as long as their overseas assets were frozen. Months of correspondence with banks and authorities in Switzerland have still borne no results. They would first consult their attorney before deciding whether to appeal the sentences, he said.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday the former president would have to wait five years before he could apply to rejoin the party he once brought to power. After the allegations of corruption and money laundering against him first broke into the open in August last year, the party's anti-corruption commission decided he should be expelled if found guilty by the District Court. Chen and his wife however soon resigned from the DPP of their own accord.
Since Chen was no longer a member and the original sanctions automatically went into effect following Friday's verdict, there was no need to call a new meeting about disciplinary measures, the DPP said yesterday. The party has said it will consider actions to support its former leader's human and legal rights.
Richard Lee, the attorney of two former close aides to Chen, Ma Yung-cheng and Lin Te-shun, said yesterday their sentences were too heavy.
Ma and Lin received prison terms of 20 and 16 years respectively, but also had to share in repaying NT$80 million in alleged illegal income. Lee said his clients had never pocketed any money for themselves, and had therefore been unfairly punished.


Updated : 2022-05-29 01:35 GMT+08:00