Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Chen asks US court to intervene to free him

PETITION The Taiwan Civil Rights Litigation Organization said it was sponsoring the legal action on behalf of the former president, demanding his immediate release

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) petitioned for the US to intervene as the “principal occupying power of Taiwan” to seek his immediate release and restore his civil and human rights.

Roger Lin (林志昇), a member of the Taiwan Civil Rights Litigation Organization, yesterday said his organization was sponsoring the legal action for Chen and demanding full respect for his civil rights and his immediate release from incarceration.

But Lin focused on Chen’s argument in the affidavit concerning Taiwan’s international status and dismissed speculation that the suit was aimed at resolving Chen’s legal problems.

“This is what I call the ‘Viagra effect,’” he said. “The drug was originally used to treat heart diseases, but most people pay more attention to its other effect — just like the suit is aimed at clarifying Taiwan’s international status, but most people look at its fallout.”

Chen has been in custody since December last year. He and his wife were handed life sentences for a string of charges last week. Chen has asked his lawyers to file an appeal.

Despite his repeated calls for the court to release him, the Taipei District Court overruled his most recent request.

Chen has decided to use international law and US constitutional law to resolve the legal problems concerning Taiwan’s status, while at the same time tackling his own legal problems, Lin said.

“His intent is to clarify that native Taiwanese people are not Chinese and should not be subject to any legal prosecution by courts of a Chinese government in exile,” Lin said.

In an English declaration provided by Lin, Chen said that during his eight-year presidency, the US executive branch often made decisions for the people of Taiwan without consulting them. These affected the lives, liberty and property of Taiwanese and the nation’s territory.

“I concluded that the machinery operating in the background was not the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act or any Executive Orders issued by the US Commander in Chief, but rather the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty,” he said in the declaration.

Under the peace treaty, Chen said it is clear that Taiwan was not awarded to the Republic of China and thus remains under the US Military Government until that government is legally supplanted.

His assertion is based on the argument that the US commander in chief did not make any announcement recognizing any civil government in Taiwan as supplanting the US Military Government after the 1952 treaty, he said.

Chen said the US is “the occupying power” under the customary laws of warfare because all military attacks against Taiwan in the World War II period were conducted by US military forces.

While some have called Chen “crazy” for putting forth this argument, Lin said, Chen’s accusers are the ones who are crazy.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei branch director Huang Ching-lin (黃慶林) said he supported the theory that Taiwan’s status was undetermined but that only the 23 million people of Taiwan should have a final say in resolving it.

Calling the corruption trial against Chen invalid and unfair, Huang said he hoped that once Taiwan’s status had been determined by a US military court, a new constitution could be written and Taiwanese who break the law could be tried under Taiwanese law.

Richard Hartzell of the Formosa Nation Legal-Strategy Association said Chen’s case was a very good approach, adding that many people had confused territorial control with sovereignty.

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