Wed, Apr 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors deny Ma charges trumped up

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former president Ma Ying-jeou, center, leaves a preliminary hearing at the Taipei District Court on Friday last week.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday issued a statement denying that charges against former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had been trumped up and urged him to refrain from using political rhetoric to mislead the public.

Ma on Friday last week appeared as a defendant on charges of incitement to disclose classified information in the wiretapping of telephone conversations between then-legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) during an investigating into alleged improper political lobbying in 2013.

Ma on Friday said that he was innocent of the charges and accused prosecutors of bias and bringing charges without evidence.

Following the court session, Ma held an impromptu news conference in the lobby of the prosecutors’ office, issuing complaints about the judiciary’s handling of the case.

In a rare move, prosecutors yesterday issued a statement — the second in five days — saying that Ma’s “misguided accusations” had taken the legal dispute outside the court and into the public arena.

The five-point statement said that prosecutors had to clarify the issues with a stern statement, as some people might get the impression that Ma has special privileges, being able to issue complaints on judicial premises.

“The defendant took a microphone belonging to a news outlet and began to read his statement to the public... We very much regret this incident, as it led to a public controversy that the defendant was able to enjoy the special privilege of conducting a news conference within the confines of an office building of the judiciary,” Taipei deputy chief prosecutor Chang Chieh-chin (張介欽) wrote in the office’s statement.

Ma’s actions had been established in earlier rulings in the trial of former prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) for leaking classified information and in the KMT’s attempt to nullify Wang’s party membership, Chang wrote.

“Therefore, the defendant’s accusations that the prosecutors have put conjecture into evidence, shot the arrow before drawing the target, filed trumped-up charges and forced the crime upon the defendant are all groundless,” Chang wrote.

Regarding a list of 17 questions Ma proposed asking prosecutors how he could have handled the situation in a legal and appropriate manner, the statement said that as Ma had held public office as a justice minister, Taipei mayor and president for about 20 years, he should have a clear understanding about how that could have been achieved.

The office urges all parties to the case to return to rational and evidence-based discussions, and refrain from populist talk to mislead the public, the statement said.

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