Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last night that he expected to be detained today when he responds to a subpoena to testify in court because he believes President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has ordered his detainment. Chen, however, stressed that he would exercise his right to remain silent.
Criticizing prosecutors for acting as political pawns of the Ma administration, Chen told a press conference that history would judge them for it.
“I have been waiting for this day for a long time,” he said. “It is finally happening. The sitting president detains a former president.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the “Formosa Incident” and Chen said he was sorry to see the judiciary had not made any progress since.
“I was thrown into jail on June 10, 1986, but not long after that the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] was born,” he said. “Twenty-two years later on Nov. 11, 2008, I will go to jail again, but I believe the Republic of Taiwan will soon be born.”
Saying his sacrifice would not be in vain and that his heart would forever be with the public, Chen said he would use his own life for the success of the slogan “Taiwan and China are one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait.”
Prosecutors are investigating whether Chen embezzled from the “state affairs fund” during his two terms in office. Chen has said he is innocent, although he admitted on Aug. 14 that his wife had wired money abroad without his knowledge. He said that money did not come from the “state affairs funds.”
Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), was indicted in November 2006 on corruption and forgery charges in connection with the use of Chen’s “state affairs fund.” He was declared a defendant in the case shortly after leaving office on May 20.
Chen said the Special Investigation Panel had summoned him to testify at 9:30am today. He believed that prosecutors would apply to detain him and that the court would agree. The eight prosecutors investigating the case have vowed to quit if they could not indict anyone, he said.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) also said on the legislative floor on Oct. 24 that he hoped to see someone detained as soon as possible, Chen said.
Likening himself to democracy pioneer Lei Chen (雷震), Chen said history would repeat itself today because Ma has ordered his detention.
Lei was arrested on Sept. 4, 1960 on treason charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison at the behest of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
During his 30-year political career, Chen said he never embezzled any government funds or laundered any money.