The High Court on Tuesday found former president Ma Ying-jeou guilty of leaking classified information and sentenced him to four months in prison. The sentence can be commuted to a fine. The ruling reverses a not-guilty verdict handed down by a lower court in August last year.
The high court found Ma guilty of helping leak classified information related to the investigation of an opposition lawmaker that was ongoing in September 2013. Ma was president at the time and had immunity from criminal prosecution. However he was summoned as a potential defendant in the case for the first time in December 2016, after leaving office earlier that year. The Taipei District Court found Ma not guilty in August 2017 after which prosecutors appealed.
The high court said Ma as president had rights to classified information. However, Ma was not entitled to pass such information to lower officials because he was not exercising his executive power under the constitution.
Ma said Tuesday that he will appeal the verdict. He said that he is not only striving for his own rights but also the rights of future presidents.