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Taiwan court hears latest prosecutors’ appeal against release ex-President Chen Shui-bian

Taiwan court hears latest prosecutors’ appeal against release ex-President Chen Shui-bian

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taipei District Court started its hearing Monday afternoon on the prosecutors’ latest appeal against the December 13 decision to release ex-President Chen Shui-bian without bail after his indictment on corruption and money laundering charges.
The court rejected an earlier appeal on December 18, but the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division filed a second appeal with the Taiwan High Court.
After two days of study and deliberation, the High Court announced early Sunday that it had decided to throw the case back to the Taipei District Court with a recommendation to take Chen back into custody.
Chen was first detained as a suspect on November 12. After a month at the Taipei Detention Center in Tucheng, Taipei County, which included a two-week hunger strike, Chen was indicted on December 12. The charges against him, his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and several other relatives, family friends, former close associates and government officials included embezzlement, corruption and money laundering involving a total of around NT$500 million.
The prosecutors claim there is a strong risk that Chen will flee the country and threaten witnesses and co-defendants if he remains free. Chen himself has strongly denied the allegations, repeatedly emphasizing he will stay in Taiwan and attend all the court hearings when necessary. The funds found in the overseas accounts registered in relatives’ names are leftovers from past election campaigns, Chen said.
Prosecutors are still investigating Chen for alleged embezzlement of secret diplomatic funds and for accepting money from financial groups in return for allowing them to take over other companies.
Just before Monday’s Taipei District Court session started, one of the ex-president’s attorneys, Cheng Wen-lung, told reporters he was filing a motion asking the judges not to rule on the case.
Cheng’s argument was that the same judges who ruled in favor of Chen’s release the previous times should continue their task.
Monday’s three-judge panel was chaired by Tsai Shou-shun, the judge who has been handling an embezzlement case against Chen’s wife Wu Shu-jen since late 2006.
The earlier hearings which decided in favor of Chen’s release were presided over by Chou Chan-chun, who was removed from the case after protests from ruling Kuomintang lawmakers, provoking accusations of political interference.
The court reasoned Tsai was already familiar with the cases against Chen and all cases involved similar witnesses and sources, making it more practical to have one judge in charge.
Special Investigation Division spokesman Chen yun-nan said Monday they were prepared for the latest court session. The former president is attending the hearing with three attorneys facing six prosecutors. The court has also allowed 20 members of the public to attend, most of them were Chen supporters.


Updated : 2021-07-25 12:17 GMT+08:00