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Sunflower seven appear at Taipei District Court for arraignment (update)
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-21 09:00 PM
Lin Fei-fan and six other leaders in the Sunflower student movement that occupied the Legislative Yuan for more than three weeks reported voluntarily Monday afternoon to Taipei District Court along with lawyer Wellington Koo for questioning on the group’s actions during the protest sit-in. The seven students including Lin and Chen Wei-ting have been accused by Captain Fang Yang-ning of the Taipei City Police Department’s Zhongzheng Precinct of “obstructing public duties” during the occupation of the Legislative Yuan and – briefly – the nearby Executive Yuan.

After about an hour and a half inside the court the group emerged, and Koo told reporters that in the future all dealing would be with the court and not with Taipei police officials. He emphasized that the students had predicated their actions on the base of their constitutional rights and under the principle of civil disobedience. He added that this particular group of students had committed no wrong, but others may still face other legal problems in the future.

Koo said that prosecutors will examine all available evidence regarding the case and had not set a date for another appearance at the court. He noted on behalf of the students that they will not attempt to shirk any responsibilities they may bear in the case and apologized for the fact that Lin Fei-fan and Chen Wei-ting did not issue any statements before entering the building. He explained that the investigation is proceeding and no one is allowed to divulge any of the contents of hearings.

Chen Wei-ting had said in the past that he would not cooperate in questioning by the police because he challenged the tactics used by law enforcement officials in removing students from the Executive Yuan.

Two members of the group, Wei Yang and Academia Sinica research fellow Huang Kuo-chang, had already been arrested.

While Lin and Chen did not make a statement before entering the prosecutor’s office, the other three students spoke briefly with reporters and lawyers for the group also presented a statement. Wei Yang stressed in his remarks that the students are "all willing to take responsibility" for their actions. He recounted how the group occupied the Legislative Yuan and Executive Yuan and described highlights of the mass rally on Ketagalan Boulevard on March 30 and said the goals of the movement have not changed a bit. He said the 30-second event in which the KMT tried to ram the Cross-strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA) through the Legislative Yuan was the critical moment in the movement’s birth. He said the group decided to act on the theory of "civil disobedience" and they are now more than willing to stand up for their actions and bear the legal risks involved. He said the students are determined not to evade any responsibility for what they said and did.

On April 18 Lin Fei-fan posted a message on his Facebook along with a scan of the notice sent to his parents’ home in Tainan by officer Fang Yang-ning. The message ordered Lin to report to the police on April 21.

Lin and Chen face the severest charges in the case, with Lin cited for ten counts and Chen cited with nine counts for their roles in the occupation of the Legislative Yuan, which lasted 24 days. The students left the area peacefully on the evening of April 10 and police and officials in the Justice Ministry immediately began making announcements regarding legal charges against the students, including obstruction of official business and other crimes.

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