Chen sues judges over detention as bribes verdict looms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 12:00am

Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian has sued three judges for illegal detention ahead of a court verdict on corruption charges against him which is due next month.

Chen, who has been held at Taipei Detention Centre since December 30, filed the lawsuit through a lawyer at Taipei District Court yesterday against judges Tsai Shou-hsun, Wu Ding-ya and Hsu Chien-hui.

Chen's office said: 'As civil servants in charge of judicial affairs, the three had not only violated the law and the constitution by forming an [illegal] panel of justices, but had also abused their power by illegally detaining the ex-president.'

The office added that Chen said the reasons given by the judges for rejecting a bail request - his third - last month showed that they were highly biased and that denial of his bail was made 'out of revenge'.

'They even used detention as a means of taking revenge, of punishing and humiliating the ex-president,' the office said.

Chen was charged along with his wife Wu Shu-chen in December with embezzling NT$104 million (HK$24.7 million) in special state funds, accepting NT$400 million in bribes, laundering US$38 million in funds abroad, influence peddling and other offences.

Chen's chief secretary, Chiang Chih-ming, yesterday said all these reasons had been unfairly cited to lock Chen up.

He said Chen had already had a chance to be released, but because the government of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou wanted to keep Chen in the jail, it had ordered that the court change the presiding judge from Chou Ting-chun to Judge Tsai.

Judge Chou originally allowed Chen to be freed from detention without bail shortly after he was charged in mid-December, but the court later changed the presiding judge to JudgeTsai after prosecutors objected to the bail ruling by Judge Chou.

Mr Chiang said the change was evidence of political action against Chen, who has denied all charges. The court is expected to deliver its verdict on Chen and his wife on September 11. If convicted, Chen could face life in prison.

His wife has pleaded guilty to money laundering and accepting NT$200 million, which she said was political contributions rather than bribes. Their son, Chen Chih-chung, and daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching, have admitted money laundering