Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 1 News List

SIP to renew appeal on Chen bail

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office yesterday said it would appeal the Taipei District Court’s decision to release former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with the Taiwan High Court for a second time.

“The appeal will be filed before Friday,” SIP spokesman Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) told reporters yesterday evening.

The Taipei District Court on Thursday confirmed its decision to release Chen without bail following the Taiwan High Court’s order on Wednesday that the lower court reconsider its Dec. 13 decision to release Chen without bail pending his trial on corruption and money laundering charges.

The high court said that if Chen were allowed to remain free, several witnesses, including three of his former close aides, might refuse to cooperate with prosecutors investigating several other corruption cases allegedly involving Chen and his wife.

But Presiding Judge Chou Chan-chun (周占春) of the district court said on Thursday that the court was releasing Chen without bail because Chen had not missed a summons.

Chou also said that fears that the former president would attempt to flee the country were unrealistic because as a former president, he was constantly protected and escorted by special agents.

The former president was detained on Nov. 12 and indicted on Dec. 12 on charges of embezzling government funds, money laundering and forgery related to four cases along with 13 others, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law.

As prosecutors are seeking the “severest penalty,” legal experts say that Chen, the first former president to be indicted, could face life in prison if convicted.

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