The office of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday asked the Council of Grand Justices to rule on the legitimacy of his pre-trial detention and remove the judges presiding over Chen’s case.
Chen’s office issued a statement announcing their decision to ask the grand justices to rule on whether his pre-trial detention violated the presumption of innocence and the principle of proportionality.
The office said it hoped the grand justices would order the removal of the judges presiding over Chen’s case and issue an injunction against his detention.
Chen is suspected of money laundering, accepting bribes, forgery and embezzling NT$15 million (US$450,000) during his presidency.
He was detained without charge from Nov. 12 to Dec. 13 last year. He refused to eat between Nov. 13 and Dec. 26 to protest what he called “political persecution.”
Following two failed appeals by prosecutors, he was detained again on Dec. 30.
Meanwhile, the Taipei District Court yesterday declined a request by the former president’s lawyers’ for a delay in the start of his case, which is scheduled to begin with three hearings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Judges believe that there is a need to expedite the process of the case,” Huang Chun-ming (黃俊明), spokesman for the Taipei District Court, said. “As a result, we decided to reject the request. The hearings will be held as scheduled.”
Lawyer Shih Yi-ling (石宜琳) filed the request, saying it was impossible for Chen’s defense counsels to finish reviewing all the case documents before the start date.
“It will take us about a month to read them through carefully,” Shih said.
Also yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) visited Deputy Minister of Justice Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) to present evidence alleging Chen asked former National Security Council deputy secretary-general Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) to go to the US to take care of a large sum of the former president’s money.
Chiu handed Huang a document from 2007 when Chen was chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Huang said the document would be forwarded to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP).