12/30/2008, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Ex-President Chen Shui-bian back in jail

After 12 hours of deliberation, district court accepts prosecution’s case against release because of the gravity of the crimes and the risk the accused might alter evidence. Chen insists he “will continue to stick up for his good name.” Trial is set for March.
Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Taiwan ex-president Chen Shui-bian is back in Tucheng prison because of charges of corruption, embezzlement, forgery and money laundering. First jailed on 12 November he was released on bail on 13 December, but Taipei District Court judges accepted the prosecution’s arguments against release and ordered Mr Chen back to jail after 12 hours of deliberation because of the gravity of his alleged crimes and for fear he could alter evidence.

Following his arrest Mr “Chen Shui-bian thanks the outside world for its support,” his lawyer said. “He will continue to stick up for his good name.”

Mr Chen and 12 other family members and close aides are under investigation. However, the former president has always contended that he is the victim of a political plot due to his pro-independence and anti-Beijing stance.

Mainland China and the current’s President Ma Ying-jeou ruling Kuomintang have rejected the allegations.

Prosecutors said they would recommend the heaviest sentence possible for the charges.

Legal experts say the former leader could face life in prison if convicted of all the charges against him.

Mr Chen's trial is due to begin in March.

Local elections are also scheduled for next year and the Democratic Progressive Party, which Mr Chen led, faces an uphill battle because of the negative publicity surround its former leader.

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