For Immediate Release
Washington DC – October 31, 2008
Contact: (202) 547-3686
FAPA’s Statement Regarding The Recent Spate Of Politically-Inspired Prosecutions In Taiwan
As an American organization that has fought hard for the past 26 years for the promotion of freedom, human rights and democracy for the people of Taiwan, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) expresses its deep concern about the erosion of Taiwan’s democracy during the past half year. In particular, we are disturbed about the recent spate of politically- inspired detentions of present and former DPP government officials in Taiwan (See listing below).
We also question the fairness of the procedures: while one or two of the accused have been formally charged, the majority is being held incommunicado without being charged. This is a severe contravention of the writ of habeas corpus and a basic violation of due process, justice and the rule of law. In the meantime, the prosecutor’s offices leak detrimental information to the press. This kind of “trial by press” is unacceptable.
We do firmly believe that any alleged wrongdoings must be dealt with in a fair and open manner. Justice through the rule of law is essential to Taiwan’s efforts to consolidate democracy and protect fundamental human rights. But, as the judicial authorities work through this investigation, it is essential that they adhere to the dictum that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
We urge the American government and Congress to express their deep concern about this deterioration of human rights and democracy in Taiwan. The present cases endanger the progress which has been made during the 21 years since the end of the Kuomintang’s martial law in 1987. As members of the Taiwanese American community we believe that a return to the KMT’s White Terror days of 1945-1987 should be avoided at all cost.
Prof. Bob Yang
President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs
Specific cases of concern
– The arrest and detention on October 15th of former Interior minister Yu Cheng-hsien;
– The arrest and detention on October 28th of former Hsinchu Science Park Director and Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Dr. James Lee;
– The arrest and detention on October 29th of DPP Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen;
– The indictment on October 30th of DPP Tainan City Councilor Wang Ting-yu;
– The arrest and detention on October 31st of former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general and Deputy Prime Minister Chiou I-jen;