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Taiwan court to deliver ex-president Chen verdict in September

[JURIST] The Taipei District court said Friday that a verdict in the corruption cases against former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] will be delivered on September 11. Presiding judge Tsai Shou-hsum said that the trial had entered its final stages [Xinhua report] and would conclude July 28. Tsai said the verdict for all four charges would be delivered at the same time [China Post report]. Chen, who was indicted [JURIST report] in December, faces possible life in prison on charges of embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery, and money laundering. Chen dismissed his defense lawyers in May and announced he would not call any witnesses in protest of what he sees as a politically motivated prosecution.

Chen has long argued that current Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou [official website; JURIST news archive] is using Chen's trial to distance himself from Chen's anti-China views. Chen called the proceedings against him "political persecution" when his trial began [JURIST report] in March. Chen has staged three hunger strikes [JURIST report] in protest of the charges against him, and in January he unsuccessfully appealed [JURIST report] his pretrial detention. In February, Chen's wife, Wu Shu-Chen, pleaded guilty to charges [JURIST reports] of money-laundering and forgery, but denied charges that she embezzled from the presidential state affairs fund. Chen's sister-in-law has also pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to charges that she had forged documents and transferred money to bank accounts upon orders from Chen and Wu. Chen has asserted that he was unaware of Wu's actions. In September 2008, Chen was cleared [JURIST report] of separate defamation charges.

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