Former Taiwan president gets jail time for information leak | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 15.05.2018
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Former Taiwan president gets jail time for information leak

Taiwan's High Court has overturned a previous not-guilty verdict and charged former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. Ma plans to appeal his sentence but can also avoid prison by paying a fine of €3,370.

Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou was sentenced to four months in prison on Tuesday for leaking classified information.

Taiwan's High Court found that "Ma Ying-jeou violated the Communication and Surveillance Act," when he leaked information relating to national security and opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming, which should have been confidential.

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Ma told local media he planned to appeal the High Court sentence, but he could also skip prison if he pays a fine of T$120,000 ($4,020, €3,370), the court said.

A former stalwart of major opposition party Kuomintang of China, Ma was Taiwan's president from 2008 to 2016 and encouraged closer ties with China. He also served as the justice minister and mayor of Taipei.

Not-guilty verdict overturned

The Tuesday ruling overturned a not-guilty verdict handed to Ma last year by the Taipei District Court.

In August 2017, the Taipei District Court ruled in Ma's favor, arguing that as president, he had had the power to intervene in disputes between different branches of government, but the High Court disagreed.

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High Court spokeswoman Wu Wei-ya told a news conference that Ma should have been aware that he was obligated to respect the confidentiality of the information.

The case relates to a high-profile leak from an investigation into senior Democratic Progressive Party opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming in 2013.

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That year in August, then-Prosecutor General Huang Shih-ming showed Ma a transcript of wiretapped conversations from an investigation into Ker.

Days after, Ma allegedly encouraged Huang to leak the contents of the recording, Ker's personal details and other information to Premier Jiang Yi-huah.

law/aw (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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