Wed, Oct 13, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Chen’s office pans raid on cell

OPPRESSIVE:The jailed former president’s office said the Special Investigation Panel was acting like a revised version of the Taiwan Garrison Command under martial law

Staff Writer

The office of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who has spent more than 650 days in detention on corruption charges, yesterday denounced a search made of his cell the previous day by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP).

The SIP, in the course of unsealing official documents, appeared with a warrant to search Chen’s cell at the Taipei Detention Center in Taipei County’s Tucheng (土城).

In a statement released yesterday, Chen’s office said the SIP’s raid on Chen’s cell was illegal and an abuse of power that trampled his rights.

The raid was particularly ironic in view of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) stated intention to set up a human rights committee under the Presidential Office before the end of this year, the statement said, denouncing the search as overkill and an illegal abuse of power.

It added that the SIP’s purpose was to humiliate Chen under the pretext of preserving evidence and that the raid showed that the SIP had no respect for his humanity.

Saying that the Taipei District Court had approved the search warrant and that the detention center had allowed the raid to go ahead, the statement accused the SIP of acting like a revived version of the Taiwan Garrison Command, which played a key role in oppressing dissent during the years in which Taiwan was under martial law.

The SIP was acting above the law in depriving Chen of his last shred of privacy, Chen’s office said. It also accused the Taipei District Court of acting as the SIP’s -accomplice “by punishing Chen with insults and humiliation” before he had been tried and convicted.

Chen’s office said that, as was the case with all detainees, all letters and documents between Chen and people outside were closely examined by detention center authorities, who also listened in on his conversations with visitors. That being the case, he could not possibly have any documents related to national security secrets hidden in his cell.

Calling the raid on Chen’s cell unprecedented, his office said it had the political purpose of manipulating public opinion in the run-up to next month’s municipal elections.

In conclusion, the statement called on the SIP to cease such unlawful actions and apologize to both Chen and the public.

Chen 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.

He has remained in detention since.

Having been found guilty of embezzling state funds, committing forgery and laundering some of the money through Swiss bank accounts by a district court last September, Chen is now seeking appeal.

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