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President reiterates stance on medical parole for ex-president

President reiterates stance on medical parole for ex-president

Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated Monday that the question of whether or not his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian, should be released on medical parole is not a political issue but a legal and medical one. Granting Chen medical parole is not a political decision, but a special pardon is, he said, noting that anyone released on medical parole is actually free and can stay in a hospital or at home. "It actually means being released from prison," he said in an exclusive interview with CNA. He explained that medical parole is only granted based on medical grounds. Only those who cannot receive appropriate treatment in prison can be released on bail for medial treatment, he noted. "There must be a doctor's diagnosis that a patient cannot be treated properly in prison," said Ma. The issue had been in the public eye for several days, with diehard supporters of Chen -- who is serving a 17.5-year jail sentence for corruption --calling for a special pardon for the former president who led the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in a defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT) in the 2000 presidential election to end more than 50 years of KMT rule in Taiwan. His administration ended in 2008, mired in corruption scandals. Recently, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, a KMT member, called on the authorities to consider Chen's medical parole case from a more lenient standpoint. He expressed hope that granting him medical parole would mend cracks in society caused by inter-party conflicts. In response to Ma's stance, DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said the president should consider the issue from a higher perspective. He said without elaboration that "surveys indicate" that more than half of the respondents hope that Ma will "handle the Chen case properly." Lin also disagreed with Ma's standpoint that it is a purely medical issue, saying that it is also a political and social case. Meanwhile, Hau said he respects Ma's explanation of what medical parole means, but added that the Ministry of Justice should organize a medical group and commission to evaluate Chen's health. This, he said, is the only way to win the trust of the public. (By Lee Shu-hua, Justine Su, Huang Li-yun and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-07-31 19:10 GMT+08:00