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Taiwan appeals court bars release of ex-president charged with corruption

[JURIST] The Taiwan High Court [official website] on Sunday overruled a district court decision to release former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pending his trial on corruption charges, citing risks of flight, collusion and interference with other witnesses. The Taipei district court’s decision to release Chen was originally overruled on December 17 by the High Court. Sunday’s reversal was a response to a second ruling by the district court, on December 25, to release Chen without bail on his own recognizance. The former president was indicted by Taiwanese prosecutors [JURIST report] earlier this month on charges of corruption, including embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery, and money laundering. His wife, his son and daughter-in-law, three former presidential aides, and eight other associates and family members were also indicted.

Chen has been detained since his November arrest [JURIST report] on suspicion of embezzling money from the state affairs fund. While in prison, Chen later went on a hunger strike and was hospitalized [JURIST reports]. Chen, the former leader of the now-opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [party website, in Mandarin] who resigned the presidency in May 2008, has maintained his innocence and has said that the investigation of his conduct is a political attack by members of the ruling Kuomintang Party [party website]. Chen spent eight months in prison twenty-one years ago for defaming Nationalist leaders. In September, he was cleared [JURIST report] on more recent defamation charges.

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