Reuters TAIPEI (Reuters) — A court in Taiwan on Tuesday sentenced former president Ma Ying-jeou to four months jail over a leak of information related to national security, legal documents showed, but he vowed to appeal, and could avoid jail altogether by paying a fine.
In the first conviction in a series of lawsuits against Ma since he left office in 2016, Taiwan’s High Court overturned a lower court’s judgement of not guilty.
“Ma Ying-jeou violated the Communication and Surveillance Act,” it said in its judgment, adding that the punishment for the sections infringed was four months’ imprisonment.
The court found that Ma had leaked information related to national security, and an opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming, that should have been confidential.
Ma’s sentence could, however, be avoided on payment of a fine of T$120,000 ($4,019), the court said in a statement, in line with Taiwan law that allows such payments for lighter sentences, instead of going to jail.
Ma told Taiwan media he planned to appeal.
“This case is a type of constitutional lawsuit,” he said. “What I’m fighting for is not just my own rights, but it’s also related to how the authority of Taiwan’s future presidents should not be limited.”
He added, “Therefore I definitely need to clarify this problem, I definitely will appeal.”