The former leader has admitted that his wife transferred 20 million US dollars abroad but said that the money was from past campaign funds and that she had wired it without his knowledge.Note that there is no backstory at all here. The article notes further down:
He has also admitted submitting bogus expense forms while in office but said the money was used for "secret diplomatic missions" and not for personal benefit.
The judge ordered Chen to be sent back to his detention centre at the end of the morning hearing, and another hearing set for Wednesday was postponed to February 24 after lawyers said they needed more time to prepare.
Taiwan's high court earlier this month rejected Chen's appeal against his detention, saying that if freed he "could destroy and tamper with the evidence and collude with other suspects or witnesses," or that he could flee.AFP does not mention any of the issues that have created worldwide interest in Taiwan's prosecutors and judiciary -- no mention of the controversy over Chen's detention, no mention of the fact that Judge Chou was replaced by Judge Tsai, no mention of the skit, no mention of the letters and commentaries from prominent Taiwan watchers. Note that secret diplomatic purposes is in quotes, inviting the reader to view it skeptically. Yet Chen was the first president to be required to submit receipts for the fund, a clear indication of an offing set-up. AFP mentions the Yeh Sheng-mao case but does not mention that the intelligence chief was convicted of helping Chen Shui-bian commit crimes, though Chen's case had yet to be tried -- another indicator of apparent systemic bias. While the article notes that Wu got kickbacks, the testimony from fugitive Jeff Koo, who returned to Taiwan to claim he bribed the Chens on a land deal, but himself was not charged with any wrongdoing, is also unmentioned. The article instead dwells on what prosecutors "think", and prominently presents the judge's claim that Chen could destroy evidence and tamper with witnesses. The framing of the piece is obvious.
For a comparison, see Max Hirsch's piece for Kyodo which is much longer, a luxury in the international media, and notes the problems surrounding the trial of Chen:
Prosecutors, local media said, brought Monday new corruption and extortion charges against Chen to bolster their bid for life imprisonment.By discussing the "circus atmosphere" and many of the other incidents surrounding the case, Hirsch's presentation gives a far more balanced view than the AFP piece. The latter could not have mentioned everything, but the failure to mention anything at all is damning.
Chen stepped down as president in May last year due to term limits. Allegations of corruption surrounding Chen, his family and aides led to landslide losses for his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the general and presidential elections last year.
Taiwan's judiciary has drawn widespread criticism for Chen's pre-trial detention; a sudden changing of judges mid-stream in an appeals process that led to Chen's continued pre-trial incarceration; and a comic skit performed by prosecutors at a recent Justice Ministry party mocking Chen at the moment of his Nov. 12 arrest. Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng, senior judges and other top justice officials attended that skit, fueling concerns over whether Chen will receive a fair trial.
''It's difficult to find words for what is, to be overly polite, a shocking lapse of professional ethics,'' said June Teufel Dreyer, an expert on Taiwan affairs at the University of Miami, referring to the Jan. 11 performance.
Local TV news footage showed prosecutors who were reportedly involved in Chen's case performing a stage play, with one female prosecutor raising her shackled wrists in a manner recalling Chen's arrest and repeating verbatim his complaints of police abuse. The audience can be heard laughing and clapping. ''It was just a comic skit to help everybody relax,'' Wang said at a Taipei press conference. ''There's no need to take it so seriously.''
But criticisms have mounted, with current President Ma Ying-jeou's Harvard Law School mentor, Jerome Cohen, slamming legal proceedings in Chen's case for their ''disturbing circus atmosphere.''
UPDATED: CNA reports that the departing UK rep here also had a few things to say about the Chen trial:
BTCO head concerned about issues pertinent to trial of ex-presidentUPDATE 2: Compare also the balanced, thorough, and informative article from AP's Peter Enav on the same topic.
Taipei, Jan. 19 (CNA) The top British representative in Taiwan on Monday expressed concerns related the trial of former President Chen Shui-bian, who has been charged with money laundering, corruption and forgery, saying that judicial impartiality and the concept that everyone is innocent until proven guilty is fundamental to justice.
Michael Reilly, director of the Taipei-based British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO), made the remarks at a press conference held before he concludes his term in Taiwan. He will be returning to the U.K. Jan. 20.....