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Taiwan DPP condemns continued travel ban on daughter ex-President Chen Shui-bian

Taiwan DPP condemns continued travel ban on daughter ex-President Chen Shui-bian

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The opposition Democratic Progressive Party on Tuesday condemned the continuation of a travel ban on jailed ex-President Chen Shui-bian’s daughter as political persecution.
The decision to keep the ban came after Chen wrote a letter asking President Ma Ying-jeou to let his daughter, Chen Hsing-yu, travel abroad because he feared she could commit suicide if she was not allowed to study in the United States.
Prosecutors imposed the ban on June 22 after indicting her for perjury in the cases of alleged corruption and money laundering surrounding her parents. Her mother, Wu Shu-jen, told a court Monday that she had pushed her children to lie to prosecutors.
Taipei Prosecutors Office spokesman Fred Lin told reporters Tuesday that the decision to keep the ban served to allow the legal procedures in the perjury case to proceed smoothly.
Chen Hsing-yu’s attorney, Lin Chih-chung, said earlier the Taipei Prosecutors Office told him in a phone conversation Monday evening that it would not accept her request but keep the travel ban in place. Chen was very upset when he told her the news, and asked the prosecutors to show courage and mercy, Lin said. When he received the official notification, he would file a protest with the court, the attorney said.
The DPP said the prosecutors gave the impression that they were persecuting each single member of the former president’s family, asking them to reconsider the ban. Chen Hsing-yu bore no heavy legal responsibility in her parents’ cases, but the ban on her trip would leave a deep mark on her career planning, DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said.
The party’s secretary general, Wu Nai-jen, visited the Presidential Office Tuesday to hand over a request for the ex-president’s release and a petition for judicial reforms signed by ten prominent citizens. President Ma Ying-jeou would not intervene in individual cases, but would accept the petition, presidential secretary general Chan Chuen-po told Wu. The Presidential Office later confirmed it had received the letter from the former president about his daughter.
Chen Hsing-yu was scheduled to register for studies in New York by the deadline of July 1, reports said. The continuation of the travel ban makes it virtually certain that she will be unable to begin her studies, for which she took exams twice within the past year. In her request for the lifting of the travel ban, Chen said she was prepared to return to Taiwan once every two months, leave her passport with Taiwan representatives in the U.S. during her stay here to make any supposed money laundering activities impossible, and leave her three children behind in Taiwan, her attorney said.
MOFA spokesman Henry Chen said Taiwanese offices overseas had not the right to keep passports or ask citizens to report regularly.
The ex-president has been detained as a suspect since December 30, and repeated attempts at winning his release have failed. He appeared in court Tuesday, continuing his refusal to speak as a sign of protest against his custody.
A hearing on July 12 is expected to decide whether to release Chen or to extend his detention by two months.