Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors indict three members of Chen family

EAVESDROPPING Chen Shui-bian’s office said the Ministry of Justice and Taipei District Court broke the law by quoting from conversations he had while in detention

By Mo Yan-Chih  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted three members of detained former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) family on charges relating to the former leader’s corruption trial.

The indictment said Chen’s son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), together with former Taipei Financial Center Corp chairwoman Diana Chen (陳敏薰), had been charged withcommitting perjury during Chen Shui-bian’s corruption trial.

Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) was indicted for instigating perjury for allegedly instructing her children to lie during a probe into the embezzlement charges against both herself and her husband, the prosecutor said.

Chen Shui-bian, who left office last year, stands accused of embezzling public funds, money laundering, accepting bribes on a land deal, influence peddling and forgery. He has been detained since December last year.

Denying the charges, Chen dismissed his lawyers and has kept silent in recent court sessions to protest against his detention and trial. Chen has also said the allegations against him and his family are politically motivated and orchestrated by his China-friendly successor, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

The court on Monday cited several reasons from previous rulings — the concern that Chen would collude with witnesses, destroy evidence or try to abscond — in defending its decision to extend his detention for the third time. Under Taiwanese law, there are no limits on how long Chen can be detained.

In related news, Chen Shui-bian’s office yesterday accused the Ministry of Justice and Taipei District Court of violating the law by quoting from conversations between Chen Shui-bian and his staff and said it would file lawsuits against the ministry, the district court and Taipei Detention Center next week.

The amendment to the Detention Law (羈押法), which took effect on May 16, bars detention centers from providing detainees’ conversations and letters to prosecutors or courts.

Chen Shui-bian’s conversations with his staff at the detention center on June 8, however, were quoted by Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓). The move violated the law, the office said yesterday in a written statement.

The ministry issued a press release to defend its decision and said that it provided the information about Chen Shui-bian’s meeting with Democratic Progressive Party Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) and former DPP legislator Chiang Chao-i (江昭儀) before the amendment took effect.

Tsai made the decision to extend Chen’s detention based on his conversation with staff on June 8, the former president’s office said.

“How did Tsai and the court know about the context of former president Chen’s conversation on June 8?” the office said. “If the ministry did not tell lies about giving out Chen’s conversation on June 8, did Tsai overhear the conversation at the detention center?”

The office said Chen Shui-bian had asked his lawyer to collect evidence of the court’s “abuse of power” and the ministry’s violation of laws.

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