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Taiwan court denies ex-president Chen's release pending appeal

[JURIST] The Taipei District Court has ruled that former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] will not be released on bail, according to an aide Wednesday. Chen was found guilty on corruption charges and sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] last week. Under Taiwanese law, the life sentence will be automatically appealed, but Chen has also appealed the corruption conviction. Chen had sought release on bail pending appeal, but the three-judge panel rejected his request, finding [AFP report] that he posed a flight risk and that he could destroy evidence or collude with other suspects. Chen's aide said that Chen, who was maintained his innocence and called the charges politically motivated, was disappointed by the ruling.

Last month, Chen filed suit [JURIST report] against the three judges hearing his corruption case, accusing them of illegally prolonging his detention. Chen was indicted [JURIST report] on corruption charges in December. He has staged three hunger strikes in protest of the charges against him, and in January he unsuccessfully appealed [JURIST reports] his pretrial detention. 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.

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