Mon, Dec 01, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma backs neutrality of judiciary

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he had never interfered in judicial processes and hoped that prosecutors would see all cases through to a conclusion regardless of the political affiliation of the suspects.

Speaking at a meeting of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Evaluation Committee, Ma said it was important to build clean government and that he would implement his campaign promise to this effect now that the KMT was in power.

Ma said that he was aware of concern over the probe into former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), but that as head of state he could not meddle in the judiciary.

“Several weeks ago, some people were upset with me and the government because they thought we did not do enough,” he said. “A few weeks later, other people are unhappy because certain actions were taken.”

Ma said this showed his government had not interfered.

“We hope all investigators and prosecutors can get to the bottom of all cases, no matter if [suspects] are from the blue camp or the green camp,” Ma said.

Equally important was protecting the rights of suspects and upholding due process, he said.

Chen is suspected of money laundering, accepting bribes, forgery and embezzling NT$15 million (US$450,000) during his presidency. He has been detained without charge since Nov. 12 and refused to eat for two weeks to protest what he called political persecution.

Chen has accused the KMT administration of waging a “political vendetta” against him to curry favor with China.

Ma also defended his China policy, arguing that Washington did not think he had gone too far and that it had said the Ma government’s actions “corresponded to US interests.”

Ma said the Asia-Pacific region and the world should feel happy that tensions in the Taiwan Strait had eased.

“The direction we are taking is correct,” he said.

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