Fri, May 07, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Former president Chen’s mother launches appeal

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tien Meng-shu, honorary director of the Shui Dang Dang Sisterhood Alliance, left, and Yang Liu Hsiu-hua, president of the International Cultural Education Foundation, center, listen as Chen Bao-ming, sister of Carnegie Mellon professor Chen Wen-cheng speaks at a press conference in Taipei yesterday called to announce a protest rally organized by a coalition of women’s groups that will be held in Taipei tomorrow.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

To coincide with Mother’s Day on Sunday, former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) mother yesterday launched an appeal calling for justice for her son.

Sunday will mark Chen’s 529th day in custody following accusations of and later convictions on corruption, money laundering and graft charges, while calls for his release by groups loyal to the former president and by pro-independence organizations have been growing.

Protesters unhappy with last month’s ruling by the Taiwan High Court prolonging Chen’s detention for at least another two months will launch a protest in Taipei tomorrow.

A number of DPP legislators are expected to take part in the protest, which organizers say could attract several hundred people, as well as members of Chen’s family, including his mother Chen Lee Shen (陳李慎), his son and two sisters.

The rally will begin on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and then make its way to the legislature, where organizers plan a sit-in.

In a rare media interview yesterday, an emotional 82-year-old Chen Lee Shen said: “[I will] only be happy when [Chen Shui-bian] is able to say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to me in person.”

Several pro-independence organizations have criticized the continued detention of the former president, alleging judicial misconduct after his family last month tried to wire back an estimated NT$700 million (US$21 million) from their Swiss bank accounts in response to prosecution requests.

“Where is the justice? The entire justice system remains biased,” said Huang Shu-chun (黃淑純) of the Northern Taiwan Society.

Despite efforts to return the money, presiding judge Teng Chen-chiu (鄧振球) said last month that he believed the former president continued to be a flight risk, comments that have been staunchly denied by Chen Shui-bian’s lawyers.

Also voicing support for the ex-president’s release was the sister of Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), a Carnegie Mellon professor critical of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, who died under suspicious circumstances during a visit to Taiwan in 1981.

“Chen Wen-chen disappeared 29 years ago after being taken by the Taiwan Garrison Command — Chen Lee Shen also lost her son one night,” Chen Pao-yue (陳寶月) said.

“Taiwanese mothers need to stand together,” to prevent such things happening again, she said.

The former president was first detained on Nov. 12, 2008, and released on Dec. 13, 2008, following his indictment. He was detained again on Dec. 30, 2008, after the Taipei District Court approved a request by prosecutors to take him back into custody and he has remained in detention ever since.

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