Taiwan’s former president Ma Ying- jeou has been found not guilty in a political leak case, a major legal victory for a politician facing a slew of lawsuits since leaving office on Friday.
Ma was cleared of all charges of leaking secrets and instructing a top prosecutor to disclose confidential information about a 2013 judicial probe in a final verdict which was handed down by the high court.
“The court ruled that relevant evidence provided by prosecutors failed to prove any crime committed by the defendant,” a court spokeswoman told AFP.
Ma was not present at the time when the verdict was announced. He had maintained his innocence throughout and accused the prosecution of mounting a flimsy case.
“He is grateful and relieved by the not-guilty verdict in the retrial,” his office said in a statement.
The high court had initially sentenced Ma to four months in prison last year for violating the Communication Security and Surveillance Act but the Supreme Court revoked that conviction in January and ordered a new trial.
The leaks controversy sparked a political storm in 2013 and saw two top officials resign, while thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand Ma step down.