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.