Wed, Jul 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP head urges rights watchdogs to support Chen

CALL FOR HELP The DPP chairwoman sent a letter to Freedom House, Amnesty International and several embassies, asking them to support a fair legal system

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday released the contents of a letter she wrote to international human rights groups requesting their support for former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) judicial rights.

In the letter, written in English, Tsai casts doubt on the impartiality of the judiciary, saying “instead of growing public confidence in the government’s efforts to prosecute official corruption, abuses of the system … are eroding public credibility in judicial institutions.”

She added that the public was losing faith in the judiciary.

Tsai says that continued detention of the former president “during the investigation period and trial is sowing the seeds of long-term public unrest and division,” adding that “we are appealing, therefore, for [former] president Chen’s human rights to be respected by the judiciary and for his immediate release.”

Tsai said the investigation against Chen was not an isolated case.

“I am also concerned that many more defendants have been subjected to similar treatment,” the DPP chairwoman said.

Tsai said that “violations in the confidentiality of the investigation” against the former president, “and the selective leaking of unverified information regarding the specifics of the case to politicians and the press further indicate a failure of law enforcement institutions to protect the rights of the defendant during the trial process.”

“I have repeatedly urged the government to take seriously the responsibility of protecting the fundamental rights of the defendant, and to refrain from any political interference in the judicial process that insults the integrity and basic rights of our former president. The fairness of president Chen’s trial will be indicative of Taiwan’s democratic progress, and the Taiwanese people will not tolerate growing abuses in the system,” the letter adds.

Asking for help from what she refers to as Taiwan’s “international friends,” she called on “those of you who have stood with us in the past through the more difficult years of fighting for democracy and freedom in Taiwan to continue to stand with us as we demand a fair and just legal system.”

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Department of International Affairs Director Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said the letter had been forwarded to organizations such as Freedom House, Amnesty International, the embassies and representative offices of foreign countries in Taiwan and a number of prominent individuals who care about Taiwan.

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