The Ministry of Justice has asked the Taipei District Court and Taipei Bar Association to investigate whether former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) lawyer has violated the lawyer code of ethics by conveying his client’s messages to the outside world during Chen’s detention.
Claiming Cheng Wen-long’s (鄭文龍) statements have been political in nature and defamatory to the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice said on Monday night that it had sent a letter to the Taipei District Court and the Taipei Bar Association, asking if Cheng had violated the lawyer code of ethics.
The court said it would not begin an investigation until it received the letter. The bar association said a task force would be formed to conduct a probe after it receives the official notice.
PHOTO: SUN YOU-LIEN, TAIPEI TIMES
Chen’s office issued a statement yesterday condemning the ministry, saying its actions would deprive him of his right to litigation guaranteed by the Constitution.
Cheng has been updating the media about Chen’s condition since he was detained without charge on Nov. 12 and began a fast on Nov. 13 to protest “political persecution.”
Cheng also issued a 10-point statement on behalf of Chen denouncing the “death of the judiciary.”
Attorney Richard Lee (李勝琛) said yesterday that Cheng has not violated legal ethics because he has not divulged anything related to Chen’s legal case.
“The ministry might think that Chen, who is being held incommunicado, should not enjoy freedom of speech,” he said. “It is worth discussing whether it is necessary to be so hard on a former president who suspects his case is politically motivated.”
Chen is suspected of money laundering, accepting bribes, forgery and embezzling NT$15 million (US$450,000) during his presidency.
He has accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration of waging a “political vendetta” against him to curry favor with China.
The latest message Cheng passed on to the media was a poem Chen wrote to his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and Cheng transcribed during his visit to Chen on Monday.
In the poem, Chen described his political thoughts and his feelings for his wife, including regrets over his failure to listen to her.
Chen has said before that Wu tried to talk him out pursuing a political career.
Wu was indicted in November 2006 on corruption and forgery charges in connection with the use of Chen’s presidential “state affairs fund.” Chen was declared a defendant in the case shortly after he left office on May 20, when his presidential immunity expired.
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠) suggested yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) consider granting an amnesty to Chen and sending him into exile if Chen admits guilt.
Tsao said Ma should consider pardoning and exiling Chen and his family if and only if the court finds Chen guilty, and Chen pleads guilty and returns the money he allegedly embezzled to the treasury.
Tsao said his proposal was aimed at maintaining social harmony.
“Society has paid a high price for [concentrating on the alleged corruption of] the former first family,” Tsao said.
When approached for comment, KMT caucus secretary-general Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) said the caucus would not discuss the idea until the court convicts Chen.
However, several KMT legislators spoke out yesterday against an amnesty.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said it was unlikely Tsao’s preconditions would be met.
Wu said both pan-blue and pan-green supporters should focus on the judicial investigation into Chen.
KMT Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) said it was too early for the public to discuss an amnesty.
KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said: “Whoever proposed this idea must be out of his mind.”
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying:
BILINGUAL ASSISTANCE: The center launched a chat bot that features Chinese and English interfaces to provide foreigners with instant information about the pandemic The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would discuss with other nations the possibility of allowing businesspeople to visit on a case-by-case basis. Asked about loosening border restrictions, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at the daily CECC news briefing that while the center is cautious about opening the nation’s borders, it would aim to diminish obstacles for important trade interactions without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus. Several foreign representatives in Taiwan have expressed an interest in the matter and the center would conduct related negotiations with the help of the