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MOJ refuses Chen’s medical parole before Jan. 5

MOJ refuses Chen’s medical parole before Jan. 5

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Justice’s Agency of Corrections confirmed Friday it would discuss medical parole for jailed ex-President Chen Shui-bian on January 5, turning down demands for overtime.
The MOJ and the agency came under fire after a report about Chen’s case only arrived just before 6 p.m. Wednesday and it refused to handle the case immediately.
The agency insisted Friday that it would not call people back out of holiday to discuss the report but would wait until the next working day, Monday January 5, before calling the necessary meeting to decide whether or not Chen would be able to end his more than six years in prison and leave the Taichung Prison’s Pei-te Hospital to receive more adequate medical treatment at home. He was sentenced to 20 years for various corruption and money laundering cases.
After several visits and tests, the 15-member medical review committee decided that Chen did deserve medical parole, counter to previous repeated assertions by the MOJ and the government in general.
Former Vice President Annette Lu last Sunday started a hunger strike to add pressure on the government to free Chen before the New Year. However, on December 31, the medical team handed its report to the Taichung Prison which sent it to the MOJ in Taipei by car. Because of several traffic jams on the freeway caused by accidents, the report only arrived just before 6 p.m., too late to convene the 10-member committee to judge the document, officials said.
Critics blasted the MOJ for transporting the report by car instead of sending it by high-speed train or even simpler, by e-mail. They also pointed out that there was NT$5 million (US$157,000) budgeted for overtime by employees, but that the government department was nevertheless unwilling to work extra on a case which was so important to the country.
As a result, Chen has to spend the four-day New Year’s holiday in prison, while Lu ended her hunger strike Thursday on advice from her doctors. She promised she would appear outside the Taichung Prison Monday to welcome Chen to freedom.


Updated : 2021-09-19 11:14 GMT+08:00