By: Central News Agency
Taipei, May 19 (CNA) Several senior advisers to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) suggested Tuesday that Ma should pardon former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on the eve of the final year of his second four-year term. Hsu Wun-pin (許文彬), one of the president’s senior advisers, was positive about Ma’s promotion of judicial human rights during his term, noting that Chen was released on medical parole from Taichung prison Jan. 5 because of deteriorating health. The Taipei District Court also recently ruled to stop another criminal trial of Chen due to his serious illness. Hsu suggested that Ma take stock of the spirit of the Act of Courtesy for Former Presidents and Vice Presidents and consider granting Chen a special pardon.
In response, a Presidential Office source said that Ma insists upon rule by law, and “will not interfere in individual judicial cases, especially since special pardons can only be granted after cases are final.” Chen still has four criminal cases pending, the source said. The former president was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined NT$250 million in a series of corruption cases that surfaced shortly after his second term ended in 2008. He began serving his sentence Nov. 11, 2010, but had been detained for nearly two years prior to that. Hsu said that Ma’s governance over the past seven years has not satisfied everyone, citing the examples of such issues as housing tax, benefits for military personnel, civil servants and teachers, as well as cross-Taiwan Strait trade exchanges. [FULL STORY]