Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Deputy Secretary-General Chang Ya-ping (張雅屏) has become the first political prisoner under President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, the KMT said yesterday, after Chang was sentenced to 34 months in prison over libel charges last month.
At a news conference in Taipei, Chang decried the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court as “unfair,” adding that he would request an extraordinary appeal.
Chang was convicted for running a smear campaign ahead of the nine-in-one elections in 2014, when he was the head of the KMT’s Pingtung County chapter.
Campaign brochures were produced and circulated by the chapter saying that then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) county commissioner candidate Pan Men-an (潘孟安) had extramarital affairs.
Ting Hsin International Group executive Wei Ying-chung (魏應充), whose company had put public health at risk by selling lard mixed with waste oil, was given a prison term of only two years, Chang said, adding that he was sentenced to 34 months in prison.
All he did was distribute publications containing documented material to voters as a reference for the election, he said.
KMT Culture and Communications deputy director Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦) accused the DPP of persecuting Chang and called on Supreme Court Chief Justice Yan Ta-ho (顏大和) to approve Chang’s request for an extraordinary appeal.
There have been about 28,000 cases of libel over the past three years and the courts have convicted the defendants in about 5,000 of them, Hu said.
However, none of the defendants have been imprisoned except Chang, who could be jailed next week, he said.
Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), a lawyer for the KMT, said the case is a matter of freedom of speech, and as Yan has filed an extraordinary appeal for former minister of transportation and communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) — who has been sentenced to eight years in jail for taking bribes — he should do the same for Chang.
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