Justice Ministry stands by prison on Chen Shui-bian issue

2017/06/17 19:00:05 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Former President Chen Shui-bian's current medical team.

Former President Chen Shui-bian's current medical team.

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) The Ministry of Justice on Saturday backed the Taichung Prison's demand that former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should present a diagnosis report from a second medical center when he next requests a medical parole extension.

The ministry said it respected the opinion of the former president's current medical team but said Taichung Prison is acting according to the law and that the ministry stands by the prison.

"There are no politics involved and there is no need to apologize," the ministry said, responding to criticism from members of Chen's medical team.

Chen, who is currently on medical parole from a 20-year jail sentence for corruption, violated several restrictions imposed by the Taichung Prison while appearing at a fundraising dinner in Taipei last month.

Among them, he stayed overnight in Taipei after the dinner instead of returning directly to Kaohsiung, where he resides after his release from prison.

His public appearance led many to question if his condition has improved to a point where he can move around and return to prison to continue serving his sentence.

To alleviate public doubts, the Taichung Prison has asked the former president to present a diagnosis from a second medical center for reference when it considers whether to extend Chen's parole an 11th time.

His current three-month parole period ends on Aug. 4.

The former president has written a letter rejecting the request, saying that Chen Shun-sheng (陳順勝), a neurologist and co-convener of his medical team, knows his condition best.

Chen Shui-bian also questioned if he is being put under house arrest by having to inform or apply to the prison when he wants to leave his residence.

In a statement released Friday night, the prison said that under parole regulations, requesting the former president to apply if he wants to leave his residence for non-daily activities, such as fundraisers, wedding or funerals, is "standard regulatory language" and in no way can be construed as house arrest.

Chen's medical team was displeased with the demand, with Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興), the other convener of his medical team, calling it a "big joke" at a press conference at the legislature.

Chen Yung-hsing questioned if the warden of Taichung Prison understands medicine and said the prison has shown its lack of medical knowledge to criticize the well-respected Chen Shun-sheng, which is an infringement of medical human rights.

Chen Yung-hsing argued that the warden should be replaced and Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) should apologize. If Chiu doesn't, he said, then it will be "an infringement of the prisoner's human rights."

The former president was released from Taichung Prison in January 2015 with various ailments after being detained for more than six years.

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Liu Shih-yi and Lilian Wu)

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