Thu, Jul 02, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Grim Chen mum on case

By Shelley Huang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) court-appointed attorney yesterday said the former president has been “in a bad mood” since hearing that his daughter’s travel request had been denied.

On Tuesday, district prosecutors rejected a travel request from Chen’s daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), preventing her from registering for study in the US and disrupting her plans to live there with her three children.

After hearing the news on Tuesday, Chen Shui-bian refused to talk about his corruption and embezzlement cases, said Tseng Te-rong (曾德榮), the former president’s court-appointed attorney.

The former president appeared in court yesterday with a glum look on his face.

Chen was called by Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) to appear as a defendant in his embezzlement case.

Tseng said that because the former president had been in a bad mood lately, he had been careful not to further aggravate Chen Shui-bian when talking about the case.

Chen Shui-bian has been distraught ever since his daughter visited him on Friday at the Taipei Detention Center, where he is currently being held. Chen Hsing-yu broke into tears as she told her father about not being able to go to the US.

Chen wrote a letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) imploring him to help his daughter travel overseas.

Chen said banning his daughter from leaving the country was illegal, and said that his daughter might develop a mental disorder or try to commit suicide because of the restrictions.

Through a court petition written by her lawyer, Chen Hsing-yu offered to leave one or all three of her children in Taiwan to show her sincerity about coming back to face her perjury charges after finishing registration.

Although Chen Shui-bian desperately hoped that his daughter would be able to go to the US, he has refused to plead guilty to his charges, his lawyer said.

“When discussing the case with the former president, I could tell he insists on his innocence,” Tseng said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday reported that Chen Shui-bian’s wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), sent a letter to her husband via her mother-in-law. In the letter, Wu reportedly reprimanded Chen Shui-bian for insisting on being a martyr even though it would ruin Chen Hsing-yu’s plans to move to the US.

Outside the Taipei District Court, Chen Shui-bian’s secretary Chiang Chih-ming (江志銘) yesterday confirmed that Wu had sent a letter.

“I did not read the letter, so I am not clear on the content,” he said.

However, Chiang confirmed that the letter was written by Wu to reprimand her husband.

Chen Hsing-yu was barred from leaving the country last Tuesday, after she, her husband Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), and her brother Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) admitted to giving false testimony during investigations into the former first family’s alleged corruption and money laundering.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that Ma had read the letter from Chen Shui-bian, but he would not interfere in any individual case.

“As a father, President Ma understood Chen’s feelings, but the president doesn’t have the right to intervene in any case. We hope Chen Shui-bian will understand that,” Wang said yesterday in Panama, as he accompanied Ma on a diplomatic trip.

Wang said the Presidential Office had no immediate plans to give the letter to prosecutors, and would discuss whether or not to reply the letter.

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