Monday, February 23, 2009

Bradsher with good article on the Judiciary

While the Washington Post and other papers of record have largely been silent on the problems of the judiciary here -- despite the complaints of international human rights bodies -- the NYTimes has put together an good article on the problems by Keith Bradsher:
Most people in Taiwan have seen the image of former President Chen Shui-bian holding his handcuffed wrists above his head last November and shouting “political persecution” when he was arrested on corruption charges.

So a scene in a skit last month performed in front of more than 200 of the island’s judges and prosecutors — some involved in deciding Mr. Chen’s fate in his coming trial — came as a surprise. A prosecutor acting in the skit held her wrists together over her head and yelled, “judicial persecution.”

Legal experts here and around the world cite the skit, perceived as prosecutors mocking their prisoner, as one of several incidents that raise troubling questions about whether the rule of law is being followed in the proceedings against Mr. Chen.
Chen is certainly guilty of at least one crime (unpaid taxes), but the level of persecution by the system against him is striking. Recall that the High Court found that recordings of the defense attorney with his client in prison were found to be unconstitutional. However, as Echo Taiwan pointed out yesterday, this ruling comes into effect in May -- meaning that discussions between Chen and his lawyer in prison are being recorded still. Echo says:
So the court ruling -- contrary to what is commonly believed that it has prevented prosecutor office from jeopardizing Chen's defense -- has in fact provided a legal coverage for prosecutors to tape the conversations between Chen and his visitors.
This 'excepting' of the case against Chen Shui-bian from legal immunities and protections is part of the pattern of persecution that so many of us have seen. It should also be noted that Chen is being prosecuted for abuse of the special funds, a presidential slush fund intended for secret diplomatic work, and this is possible even though the legislature changed the law to protect the 6,500 officials in position with such funds from prosecution: the protections applied to everyone but previous users of the presidential special funds (e.g. Chen Shui-bian)!

Sometimes the anti-Chen insanity reaches absurd levels, as in this petition campaign by a KMT city councilor in Kaohsiung against having the former president's son move to the city.

Taiwan News reported today on another problem that has been surfacing in the press over the last couple of weeks: missing information in official recordings of government witnesses against Chen:
The former president’s attorneys were reported to announce Monday that several recordings of prosecutors interviewing witnesses were incomplete. Last November 24, prosecutors questioned former Chinatrust Financial Holding vice chairman Jeffrey Koo Junior for about two hours, but notes showed only the contents of half an hour, reports said. Other recordings showed an image but no sound, the reports said.
The reason the case is being tried in the media is because of the many problems it has in the judicial system. And don't forget, Chen has years of appeal in front of him....

1 comment:

Taiwan Echo said...

"as Echo Taiwan pointed out yesterday, this ruling comes into effect in May -- meaning that discussions between Chen and his lawyer in prison are being recorded still."

Just found the related TT report (Justices pull plug on supervised meetings), which says,

"The interpretation also says that information gained from the recordings of such a meetings shall no longer be admissible as evidence after May 1."

What I missed previously is, this "inadmissible" ruling actually was in response to a request of a pan-blue defendant who thinks his right is violated by the recording.


And they made a ruling to cover the recording about Chen as admissible !!!

This is unbelievable !