Hundreds of supporters of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian rallied in Taipei on Saturday to demand his release from detention while appealing against a life term for graft.
Chen’s mother, his son and two sisters were present, as protesters waved placards reading “Stop political persecution” and “A-Bian innocent,” using the ex-leader’s nickname.
“I am very sad because I can’t see my son. He has been locked up for so long. He is wronged and he is innocent,” Chen’s mother Chen Lee Shen told the crowd, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Organisers also set up a shrine in a square leading to the presidential office to mock what they called “the death of justice” in the handling of Chen’s case.
“We demand fairness and justice for Chen. He has been detained for more than 500 days and this is a violation of his human rights” said organiser Sherry Huang.
The ex-leader was sentenced to life in prison in September 2009 on multiple charges of corruption. His wife also received a life term on related charges.
The High Court will deliver its verdict on the appeal on June 11 and said Chen should remain in custody as he is still a “flight risk.”
Chen has blasted his trial as a vendetta carried out by the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang administration in retaliation for his pro-independence stance while president.