Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for the release of detained suspects involved in the case against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who has been released.
She said former National Security Council secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and other suspects in the case had been detained long enough and should be released as soon as possible.
Tsai told reporters that she was glad to see Chen had been released by the district court.
“I hope Chen gets a good rest at home and has a nice time being with his family and mother,” Tsai said.
“Chen’s release was the result of the judiciary’s respect for human rights and I think the judiciary felt it was not necessary to continue to detain” him, Tsai said.
She said the trial would be a difficult process for Chen, but that he should face it bravely.
Asked by reporters what sanctions the DPP would take against Chen if found guilty at his first trial, Tsai said that the party’s anti-corruption committee had decided Chen would in that case not be allowed to return to the DPP for five years.
Tsai said she was not concerned that Chen’s case would impact DPP performance in next year’s mayoral and commissioner elections.
Tsai said after Chen’s indictment on Friday that her party was willing to assume full political responsibility for what Chen did during his years in office between 2000 and last May.
Chen’s indictment marks one of the most difficult moments in the DPP’s history, Tsai said, calling on all DPP members to stand united in order not to let the party’s supporters down.
Members of the DPP should be kind-hearted and have integrity, Tsai said, adding that she expected Chen to mount a vigorous defense against the corruption charges leveled against him.
In the meantime, Tsai said, the DPP would work to defend Chen’s rights.
She dismissed media reports that the DPP would turn its back on Chen or that it regarded him as a liability to the pro-independence cause.
DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said the caucus was told that Chen had been released and hoped other defendants in the case would be released soon.
Lai said a defendant should be considered innocent until proven guilty and that the judiciary should therefore not have detained a number of suspects in Chen’s case in order to take their testimony.
The caucus will propose an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code to set clearer criteria for detention, the lawmaker said.