WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court has dismissed a petition by former Taiwan president Chen Shui-Bian to be released from prison on the island, where he was convicted on corruption and bribery charges.
The former president last month petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, seeking an order for his release from a life sentence in prison on the basis that the United States still controlled the island off mainland China.
The court dismissed the petition on Tuesday citing a lack of jurisdiction, the clerk of the court William DeCicco said on Wednesday.
Chen’s lawyers had said that it was his duty as president of Taiwan to accept orders from U.S. military officials under a 1951 peace treaty and defend the island from “hostile powers,” according to the petition.
Prosecutors had charged Chen with embezzling T$104 million ($3.2 million) from a special presidential office fund, accepting bribes of about $9 million related to a land procurement deal and taking another $2.73 million in kickbacks to help a contractor win a government project.
While in power from 2000-2008, Chen upset China and the United States by advocating formal independence for Taiwan. China has claimed sovereignty over the self-ruled island since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Paul Simao