Detention of former President Chen extended for a third time is unacceptable

Detention of former President Chen extended for a third time is unacceptable

With regards to the Taipei District Court 's third extension of detaining former President Chen starting from July 26th, adding to the 196 days spent in the Taipei Detention Center already, DPP Spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) today (13th) responded that the DPP does not believe there is any legal rationality to detain Chen for any longer. It is regretful and unacceptable that this ruling was made.

DPP Statement:
1.Even the public lawyer appointed by the District Court to Chen agreed that Chen should be freed from the pre-trial detention. The lawyer said that the judiciary has finished interviewing and interrogating witnesses, and the case is going to move into legal debate in court. Smearing or destroying evidence is now impossible, thus, there is no necessity to detain Chen any further.

2. If the court’s decision is based on “possible escape”of Chen, for example, the court used to argue that Chen intended to escape because he had applied to renew his passport after retiring from presidency. However, as a retired president, the security service provides his 24 hour protection and at any one time, should the court restrict Chen's travel, the security service will abide to its ruling. Furthermore, the court can use other alternatives to monitor Chen’s movements. Therefore, the DPP highly questions the intention of the court to take pre-trial detention as the only option.

3. When the court takes very negative view on defendant fighting for his or her own judicial rights and takes the society’s voicing concerns for judicial rights as obstructions to the judicial process, it reveals how conservative and isolationist our judicial system is.

4. President Ma has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which Article 9, Paragraph 3 states that “it shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgment” However, it remains a common practice in Taiwan’s judiciary to place defendants into pre-trial detentions. From this, it is evident that Ma administration signed this human rights convention with no intention to abide by it. Court’s decision on extending former president Chen’s detention not only seriously violates the international law principle but also goes against the public’s expectations to reform the current pre-trial detention system.