President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has rejected a plea by his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), to lift a court order that bars Chen's daughter from leaving the country.
Ma said he had read Chen's letter asking him to exercise his influence so that the court would lift the travel ban, which has prevented Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), from taking up advanced dentistry studies in the US.
Chen said in the letter he was worried his daughter might have a nervous breakdown, could commit suicide or even harm her three children.
Ma said, as a father, he understood Chen's feeling.
“However, having been a president, Chen Shui-bian should understand that although being head of the Republic of China comes with much authority, [a president] still cannot intervene in the judiciary,” Ma said on Thursday. “The decision [to lift the travel ban on Chen Hsing-yu] should be decided by the prosecutors or the court, not by me.”
Asked whether he would write Chen a reply, Ma said he had made his stance known on the issue, therefore “there's no urgency on sending a reply.”
Chen Hsing-yu had filed a petition with the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office appealing for a lifting of the travel ban by promising prosecutors that she would hand over her passport to Taiwan's representative office in the US upon arrival and would report to the representative office every day, as well as return to Taiwan periodically.
Prosecutors rejected her appeal earlier this week, saying she is required to stay in the country to ensure the smooth progress of the investigation into alleged corruption by her parents and the perjury charges against her.