Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was today indicted for leaking classified information.

The Taipei District Public Prosecutor's Office after a six-month investigation has charged Ma with violations of the Communication Security and Surveillance Act and the Personal Information Protection Act related to a wiretapping case in 2013.

Ma maintains his innocence.

The case will be heard at the Taipei District Court and a decision is expected by March 28. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years.

The case was initially brought in 2013 by Ker Chien-ming (柯建明), caucus whip for the now-ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ker accused Ma of leaking details received from Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) regarding an investigation which included wiretaps into allegations that Ker and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) were improperly using their influence. The material was allegedly leaked to Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強).

Taiwan Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) told the press that the Presidential Office respected the prosecutor’s decision and refused to comment further.

Former Vice President Wu Dun-yih (吳敦義), a member of the Kuomintang (KMT) previously led by Ma, said that the former president was proved innocent in previous lawsuits and he believed that the judiciary would find him innocent this time as well.

DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) today said that the case shows the president should not interfere in judicial matters and undermine the constitution. He also said Ma and Huang have “seriously damaged” Taiwan’s democracy.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that the indictment was “normal” as a country progresses. He compared the case to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and said that Asian countries still lag behind Europe and the U.S. in terms of democracy.

According to South China Morning Post, Chang Chien-hsin (張介欽), a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said, “Being a professional both teaching and practising law, [Ma] should have known the public expect that their private communications or privacy must be protected […] but he chose an improper way to deal with what he believed were political flaws and responsibilities involving Cabinet members.”

Editor: Edward White