Wed, Dec 17, 2008 - Page 3 News List

SIP prosecutors appeal Chen’s release

NEVER UNDERSTANDThe former president’s office released a statement saying that pre-trial detention amounts to torture, causing great mental and physical harm

By Jimmy Chuang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) yesterday appealed to the high court over the Taipei District Court’s decision last Friday to release former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) without bail.

The SIP presented the appeal to the high court yesterday afternoon.

State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) said that prosecutors feared the former president may interfere with potential witnesses in his cases, although there was no sign that the former president would attempt to flee the country.

In addition, SIP prosecutors are still investigating corruption allegations related to the second phase of financial reform as well as secret diplomatic projects during Chen Shui-bian’s presidency. Those probes concern a large amount of money, so prosecutors wanted to keep the former president in detention, he said.

“Now that he [Chen Shui-bian] is out, our witnesses may stop talking,” Chen Tsung-ming said.

The high court will schedule a hearing to decide whether to uphold the district court’s decision to release Chen Shui-bian or ask it to re-hear the case and decide again whether he should be detained.

If the high court declines the appeal, prosecutors will need to come up with new reasons for any further detention requests.

Meanwhile, Chen Shui-bian’s office yesterday dismissed allegations that the former president had blamed former interior minister Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) for revealing information soon after his detention.

Yu was detained on Oct. 15 in relation to an investigation into allegations of corruption involving the former first family and the construction of the Nangang Exhibition Hall. He made statements implicating former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and other potential defendants in the case and was released on Nov. 27.

Yu was indicted earlier this month for his alleged involvement in irregularities related to the construction of the hall.

Instead of complaining about Yu’s confession, Chen looked at the issue with a forgiving attitude, the office said yesterday in a press release.

“People related to the cases must give out confessions against Chen and other potential defendants to strive for their release from detention. It’s human nature and totally understandable,” the office said.

A story in yesterday’s Chinese-language China Times said Chen had complained to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators on Monday that Yu testified against Wu only two days after being detained.

Chen condemned the government for violating human rights with pretrial detentions, saying that he could only leave his cell for five minutes every day.

“Detention causes great harm to the detainees, both physically and mentally. It is torture and those who have never been in such a situation would never understand,” the office said.

The former president urged the court to release former National Security Council secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and former Bureau of Investigation director-general Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂).

DPP legislators yesterday also rebutted the report.

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that the former president had merely expressed his opinion that prosecutors were detaining people in his case to obtain statements, and it could be classed as a form of torture, and that prosecutors had used such tactics to extract Yu’s confession.

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