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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 05:31 GMT
Taiwan's first lady misses trial
Taiwan's First Lady Wu Shu-chen arrives at court on 15 December 2006
Opposition lawmakers have accused Wu Shu-chen of stalling
The wife of Taiwan's embattled President Chen Shui-bian did not attend the second session of her embezzlement trial on Friday.

Wu Shu-chen is accused of illegally using state funds for personal reasons.

Mrs Wu, who denies the charges, has been in hospital since fainting during her first court appearance last week.

Opposition lawmakers accuse her of holding up the trial to prevent a possible guilty verdict from damaging the ruling DPP party's image.

Mrs Wu, who uses a wheelchair, has been paralysed from the waist down since an accident in 1985.

Personal use

"She could easily go on asking for sick leaves so the judge could not issue a verdict before 2008," an opposition Nationalist Party lawmaker, Chiu Yi, told the Associated Press news agency.

However, a hospital spokesman told journalists it had been recommended that Mrs Wu stay at the hospital to receive treatment.

"Her blood pressure is likely to fall suddenly if she stays seated for long periods," the hospital said.

Ms Wu and three aides are charged over the handling of a secret presidential fund used for diplomatic work overseas.

Officials say around $500,000 (250,000) cannot be accounted for and accuse the president's family of taking it for their own use.

Ms Wu faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if she is found guilty.

The president faces similar accusations to his wife, but is protected from prosecution by presidential immunity.

He has promised to resign if his wife is found guilty.




SEE ALSO
Taiwan first lady faints at trial
15 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's Chen in corruption case
03 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan MPs quit over Chen scandal
13 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's Chen denies graft charge
05 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's Chen survives key vote
24 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan leader faces mass protest
09 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Chen Shui-bian
01 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Taiwan
11 Aug 06 |  Country profiles



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