[JURIST] Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was found guilty Friday on corruption charges and sentenced to life in prison. Chen's wife Wu Shu-Chen was also given a life sentence [CNA report] after the pair were convicted on charges of embezzlement, receiving bribes, forgery, and money laundering. A three-judge panel of the Taipei District Court [official website, in Chinese] also sentenced their son to two-and-a-half years in prison and their daughter-in-law to one year and eight months. Two former presidential aides received 20 and 16-year sentences, respectively, while a third former aide, who confessed and expressed remorse, was found guilty but received no jail time. Before the verdict was delivered, Chen wrote in article [text, in Chinese] for Formosa News [media website, in Chinese] that he was a victim of political persecution and that his "heart is free" no matter what the verdict was. Under Taiwanese law, the life sentences will be automatically appealed.
Last week, the Taipei District Court sentenced [JURIST report] Wu to one year in prison on obstruction of justice charges for instructing her children how to respond to investigators probing the corruption allegations. Her son, daughter, and son-in-law were also sentenced to six months each in jail for misappropriating state funds. 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.