Ex-Taiwan Prez Convicted of Corruption, Sentenced to Life

Chen Shui-bian and wife both found guilty of embezzlement, taking bribes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2009 4:25 AM CDT
Supporters demand the release of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian outside of the district court today in Taipei, Taiwan. Chen was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
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(Newser) – The former president of Taiwan was convicted of corruption and sentenced to life imprisonment today, marking a watershed event in the island's turbulent political history. Chen Shui-bian, president from 2000 to 2008, was charged with embezzling $3.15 million from a special presidential fund, receiving bribes worth at least $9 million, money laundering, and other charges. His wife was also convicted and sentenced to life.

The verdicts came as hundreds of supporters demonstrated outside a downtown Taipei court, holding flags and banners saying "free him" and "Chen's innocent." Chen chose not to attend today's proceedings. He has been confined to a suburban Taipei jail since late last year, after prosecutors convinced judges not to free him following his indictment.