Sat, Feb 28, 2009 - Page 3 News List

High Court orders Taipei to review Chen detention

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan High Court yesterday ordered the Taipei District Court to reconsider former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) request to end his detention.

On Feb. 13, Taipei District Court Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) denied Chen’s request to end his detention. Chen then filed an appeal to the Taiwan High Court.

Tsai yesterday said that the high court’s reasoning for granting Chen’s appeal was “ridiculous.”

“The High Court said that Chen ‘would not be likely’ to exchange or share information with defendants or witnesses. Obviously, high court judges cannot be 100 percent sure about this,” Tsai said.

On Thursday, Tsai held a hearing to reconsider the decision to detain Chen because of concerns about his health.

But the hearing could not reach a decision before Tsai ended it on the same day.

Chen’s detention period is scheduled to end on March 31. By law, judges do not have to make a decision before then.

“We will reconsider the request very carefully,” Tsai said.

Applauding the High Court’s decision, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that Chen should be released both for human rights considerations and to show fairness to prosecutors and defendants.

“It is difficult for a detained person to prepare for a trial,” Tsai said. “If there are no further grounds to detain him, he should be released.”

DPP legislators said conflict between pan-blue and pan-green supporters could increase if Chen were kept in detention.

“The longer he is detained, the more conflict between the pan-blue and pan-green camps sthere will be,” DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said.

DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) urged judges to allow Chen more time to prepare his defense.

“Is it really necessary to torture him like this?” Ker said. “He should be released, as there is no longer any reason to keep him behind bars.”

Chen’s office yesterday said the Taiwan High Court decision showed that the Taipei District Court was hasty in detaining him and urged the district court to hold another detention hearing.

“The district court should not deprive Chen of his basic rights based on the [Special Investigation Panel] SIP’s false accusations,” the office said in a written statement.

The SIP should not accuse Chen of intending to flee abroad, forge or destroy evidence based on insufficient reasoning, the office said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH

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