Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) plans to take legal action against a man who allegedly kicked him on Monday.
“I respect freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly and am opposed to all forms of restriction,” Chen said. “I can put up with verbal abuse, but I will not tolerate violence.”
He made the remarks in a statement issued by his office yesterday, one day after he was reportedly kicked in the hip by Su An-sheng (蘇安生), a 65-year-old man, as he entered the Taipei District Court.
Su is believed to be a member of the pro-unification Patriot Association (愛國同心會).
Chen appeared in court on Monday to defend himself in a defamation suit brought by personnel connected to the purchase of Lafayette frigates in 1990.
After the hearing, Chen went to the National Taiwan University Hospital, where doctors found that his tailbone had been fractured.
Chen’s appearance at the court marked the first time a former president had been subpoenaed as a defendant in a criminal case.
He said in the statement that he could not condone people using political differences to rationalize violence.
He said Su has also attacked former representative to Japan Koh Se-kai (�?�) and lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) for political reasons, and added that it would foster violence and make a mockery of the rule of law if Su were allowed to walk free to do as he pleased.
Su allegedly attacked Koh last month and Koo in August 2006. They both declined to press charges.
Responding to criticism that he had brought the incident on himself because he had changed security personnel’s plans, Chen said he had instructed security personnel the day before that they should decide where to let him out of the car at the court depending on the situation.
The security personnel told him later that they had decided to let him off at the court’s main gate on Boai Road because the original location was crowded with protesters, Chen said in the statement.
The vehicle had been provided by the special operations center and was not a civilian car, he said.
To avoid creating a disturbance at the court, he had specifically asked not to let police cars lead the way, Chen said.