Taiwan ex-President Chen Shui-bian should spend Lunar New Year at home: DPP

Chen could be suffering from Parkinson's: Next Magazine

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Chen Shui-bian should be allowed to spend the Lunar New Year holiday at home since he might be suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Wednesday.
Chen has been staying at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei since September 21. Initially, he underwent tests, which determined he suffered from a grave depression. He has been staying at a special unit of the hospital for treatment, but the government has still refused to grant him medical parole.
Recent reports from physicians suggest that the recent shaking of his hands and speech problems might be symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, reports said.
Chen is serving an 18-and-a-half-year prison sentence on charges of corruption, but he himself has staunchly defended his innocence, saying the court cases against him were a form of revenge by President Ma Ying-jeou’s ruling Kuomintang.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang visited Chen at the hospital Tuesday evening and reportedly found his condition to be wanting. As a result, he presented a report to the party’s regular Central Standing Committee meeting Wednesday and concluded it with a news conference calling for a holiday for the former president.
The government had been lying when it pretended Chen’s condition was stable, the DPP said. Instead, his health was failing and the government stood by and did nothing, according to the opposition.
The Veterans General Hospital denied a report by Next Magazine that Chen’s was even suffering from Parkinson’s, saying his hands shaking were not related to any such disease.
When he entered hospital last year, his right hand was already shaking, the hospital said. Local and outside experts conducted tests but found the ex-president did not suffer from Parkinson’s, according to the hospital. However, there was no way to exclude he had not been affected by another form of the illness, reports said. The hospital described the recent shaking of his hands as similar and not a sign of deterioration.
The magazine also published a picture of what it said was writing by Chen implying he was willing to die.
His son Chen Chih-chung said he agreed to release a 28-second video recording of his father to underline he needed medical parole.
Whatever his deeds, Chen’s human rights and medical rights should be respected and he should be allowed to receive the right treatment, doctors and activists have said.
Prominent physicians launched an online petition last year to campaign for medical parole, but the Ministry of Justice insists Chen does not correspond to the conditions for release.
The doctors say the former president’s stay in a small cell and the lack of movement have contributed to the sharp deterioration of his health over the past year. The Taipei Prison is not the right environment for a patient like Chen, while a limited stay in hospital will not be able to cure his ailments, campaigners said.
While at the hospital, Chen has also frequently received visitors from home and abroad expressing concern about his health and his treatment. The case has also been taken up by members of the United States Congress sympathetic to Taiwan and by overseas human rights groups.
The DPP’s latest call was supported by former Premiers Frank Hsieh and Yu Shyi-kun, and by Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu and her Tainan colleague William Lai.