Former Taiwan president Chen sent to prison

Chen Shui-bian is the first ex-leader of Taiwan to be jailed.

Taipei: Former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian has been transferred to a prison to serve a minimum 11-year sentence for corruption after spending almost two years in a detention facility on trial or appealing his convictions.

Television reports yesterday showed the one-time democratic icon leaving the Taipei Detention Centre in Tucheng, Taipei County, in a minibus with a police escort soon after 1 pm arriving at the Taipei Prison in Guishan,
Taoyuan County, around 30 minutes later.

Chen, 60, had been in continuous detention since December 2008, when a lower court agreed with prosecutors that Chen was a flight risk, in part because of a large amount of cash that had been remitted overseas by the Chen family during his presidency.

The Supreme Court upheld bribery convictions for Chen and his wife Wu Shu-jen on November 11, reducing sentences for both to 11 years, over a land deal in the township of Lungtan, also in Taoyuan County.

Convictions were also upheld in a bribery case for which Chen and Wu received eight years in jail, while Wu was given an additional seven months for money-laundering.

The terms could be served successively or concurrently pending an application from prosecutors to the High Court.

The frail, wheelchair-bound Wu remains free as prosecutors and prison authorities determine how to deal with her physical condition, while the fate of their son Chen Chih-chung and his wife Huang Jui-ching, who have been convicted in some of the cases, is in the hands of appeal courts.

The Supreme Court on November 11 returned other cases to a lower court for reappraisal, which could result in the prison terms for Chen and Wu being extended. Another case in which Chen was acquitted by the Taipei District Court on November 05 is being appealed by prosecutors.

The Taipei District Court originally sentenced Chen and Wu to life in prison, but these sentences were reduced to 20 years by the High Court on June 11.


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