Newspaper article China Post

Is the Court Trying to Help A-Bian Get a Presidential Pardon?

Newspaper article China Post

Is the Court Trying to Help A-Bian Get a Presidential Pardon?

Article excerpt

Former President Chen Shui-bian's presence and public speech at a Taipei fundraising dinner for his Ketagalan Foundation finally moved the High Court to find out whether he is capable of standing trial. Chen, nicknamed A-bian, is on medical parole from a 20-year term for graft and money laundering, while five other cases are still pending.

A-bian attended the party on May 19 in violation of the parole rules set by Taichung Prison, where he was incarcerated and which is overseeing his release. The court of appeals has summoned him to appear on July 7 to answer questions on his health to determine whether the pending cases can proceed. Two of these five cases related to corruption, one to embezzlement and the remaining two to compromising state secrets and money laundering.

Chen was paroled on Jan. 5, 2015 after being diagnosed with severe depression and other diseases and after a prison-appointed treatment team said his life was in danger. One of the yet to be settled corruption trials was suspended on Aug. 31 two years ago. According to the law, the suspended trial must be reviewed once every six months to ascertain whether the reasons for a parole decision remain. One of the High Court judges who suspended the trial decided to order him to appear in court for questioning on the day the Japanese started their invasion of China with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident 79 years ago. Should the judge find that the reasons for the medical parole still stand, he would call all the other judges in session to decide on whether A-bian should indeed be allowed to stay home for "recuperation." Their decision must be approved by Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san, who has been blasted by A-bian supporters for incompetence in failing to get the former president out of prison for good.

In the meantime, A-bian's treatment team is joining Democratic Progressive Party VIPs, including his ex-vice president Annette Lu, in demanding that President Tsai Ing-wen to pardon him. …

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