Wed, Jul 22, 2009 - Page 3 News List

High Court rejects Chen’s detention appeal

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan High Court yesterday rejected former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) appeal against the Taipei District Court’s decision to extend his detention.

The high court cited fears that if Chen were released, he might destroy evidence, flee the country or collude with witnesses.

It also noted that he has been charged with serious crimes.

The ruling stated that Chen used his influence during and after his presidency and even in detention to impede the litigation process.

Chen’s court-appointed lawyers argued that as a former president, Chen was under 24-hour watch by security guards and so he would not be able to flee the country, but the high court ruled that the purpose of the surveillance was to protect him, not to limit his freedom to move about.

Chen’s security personnel have no legal authority to prevent him from escaping, and therefore the argument that he would not flee under such circumstances was invalid, the ruling said.

The high court also said that none of the Chen family’s overseas funds have been sent back to Taiwan, and that a witness had testified that Chen had asked her to apply for a Republic of China passport for him after prosecutors began investigating the embezzlement allegations against him.

The high court ruling said invitations from overseas groups would not require such urgency in applying for a passport.

The high court also rejected Chen’s lawyers request for bail so he could receive medical treatment, saying that health problems caused by Chen’s refusal to eat were not serious enough to require hospitalization.

Physicians at the Taipei Detention Center said last week that Chen had tendinitis in his right foot caused by abnormal bone growth.

He wore a cast and used a wheelchair when he appeared at the Taipei District Court last week for his corruption trial.

The cast has since been removed but Chen still walks with a slight limp.

The Taipei District Court ruled on July 13 to extend Chen’s detention by two months — the third time his detention has been extended.

Chen’s attorneys filed an appeal two days later.

The former president has been held at the detention center on corruption charges since Dec. 30 last year.

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