Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang lawmakers on Tuesday described as "political" the indictment of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for allegedly abetting in the disclosure of confidential information, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the latest development was expected.
Legislator Wang Yu-min (王育敏), a KMT caucus whip, said the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had engaged in "all-out" political persecution of Ma since he stepped down on May 20, 2016, adding that politics must be kept out of the judicial system.
However, Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), a caucus whip from the ruling DPP, said the development was widely expected and it was a sign that the judicial system had "finally returned to normal".
When asked about the issue during a legislative session, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) stressed that the government had not interfered in the prosecutors' investigation and respected the handling of the case by the justice system, in response to a protest by KMT lawmaker Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順).
Taipei prosecutors decided earlier on Tuesday to prosecute Ma for allegedly abetting in the disclosure of information classified as secret under the Communication Security and Surveillance Act.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office said Ma also violated the the Personal Information Protection Act, as well as the Criminal Code for allegedly divulging classified information related to matters other than national defense in August and September 2013.
The information in question concerns alleged influence-peddling involving Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of the KMT, then-legislative speaker, on behalf of Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), a senior DPP lawmaker.
Asked by reporters about Ma's indictment, Wang said he respects the legal process, stressing that he did not engage in influence-peddling.
Ker described the indictment of Ma as justice finally being served and urged the former president to admit wrongdoing.
"The indictment shows that Ma is guilty and will not get away with it," Ker said.
Ma said he has every confidence he did nothing wrong and expects the court to "eventually return a fair and just verdict," his spokesperson said after the indictment.
Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) said it was "extremely regrettable" that prosecutors did not accept the explanations provided by Ma that he was merely fulfilling his duty as head of state under the Constitution.
It is a grave miscarriage of justice when individuals get away with influence-peddling involving a criminal case while someone who tried to deal with the scandal is being prosecuted, Hsu said.
The KMT also issued a statement, saying it believes Ma is innocent and expects the the trial will restore his reputation. (By Wen Kuei-hsiang, Liu Kuan-ting, Hsieh Chia-chen, Wang Cheng-chung, Justin Su and Elaine Hou)