Thu, Jul 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Groups in US call for release of former president


Fifteen Taiwanese-American organizations are calling for the immediate release of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), calling his continued detention politically motivated.

“This prolonged incarceration, now in excess of 200 days, is unjustifiable legally and unconscionable on human rights grounds,” the organizations said in a statement. “It is unbecoming of Taiwan as a free and democratic country. We strongly urge the Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] government in Taiwan to release former President Chen Shui-bian now.”

Bob Yang (楊英育), president of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) said the issue was not whether Chen is guilty but whether his trial meets “the highest standard of judicial independence and impartiality.”

“Taiwan’s reputation as a fledgling democracy is at stake here. This is evident by the appeals from many international observers, including President Ma’s former professor, Jerome Cohen, who wrote a series of articles expressing serious concern about the Taiwanese government’s disrespect for judicial independence,” Yang said.

The application of the law by prosecutors was “politically charged” and showed a “double standard,” he said, adding that Taiwan’s judicial reputation would be affected by their actions.

“So far they got an F,” he said.

The 15 organizations to sign the statement were the Dr Kang-Lu Wang Memorial Foundation, the Formosa Foundation, the Formosan Association for Human Rights, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, Friends of Taiwan, Inc, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association, the North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association, the Professor Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation, the Taiwanese Hakka Association for Public Affairs in North America, the Taiwanese Association of America, the Taiwanese Hakka Association of America, the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations, the World Taiwanese Congress, World United Formosans for Independence-Canada and World United Formosans for Independence-USA.

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