Three Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) officials who were indicted for contempt of authority refused to appear at their first court hearing yesterday because the party said the charges are unconstitutional and constitute a breach of freedom of speech.
Chen Chang-hui (陳昌輝), the TSU’s Tainan City branch director, TSU Department of Organization deputy director Chou Ni-an (周倪安) and TSU deputy caucus director Liu Kuo-lung (劉國隆) were accused and indicted on charges of contempt of authority after they called the Supreme Prosecutor Office’s Special Investigation Division (SID) “SID pigs” at a protest in May last year.
The demonstration was held to protest increases in fuel and electricity prices, and to demand that the SID probe potential corruption at state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and CPC Corp, Taiwan.
“This charge — which only has a place in a feudal society and violates human rights — was used by the SID as a tool to suppress freedom of speech,” TSU Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) told a press conference.
If President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is serious about Taiwan complying with the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN International Covenant on Social and Cultural Rights — which his adminastration signed in 2009 — and the Constitution, the government should not press charges against people for criticizing the government, Lin said.
Lawyer Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠) said political commentary and speech should enjoy the highest degree of protection because people are supposed to monitor the government, adding that the court should suspend judgement and demand a constitutional interpretation.
The three officials have said they never expected they would be indicted for something they said during a protest of government policy.