• Directory of Taiwan

Medical parole for Chen Shui-bian approved (update)

Medical parole for Chen Shui-bian approved (update)

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang announced Monday that after discussion with a special medical verification team the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) had decided that the current environment in which former President Chen Shui-bian is being held is not conducive to allowing his physical condition to improve. In an 11:30am news conference, Chen noted that the former president’s ailments are continuing to degrade and his overall health situation is worsening, therefore the medical team recommended granting a medical parole so he can receive proper treatment outside the correctional system.

The MOJ ruled that Chen Shui-bian would be allowed to receive medical attention in a home environment for an initial period of one month. If his condition should start to show improvement within that time period, he could be returned to prison again, and any time spent outside the prison system would not count as part of his sentence. If Chen’s condition fails to improve within the initial first month, the MOJ will make a further judgment on whether to extend the length of the medical parole. The parole can be extended for one to three months, meaning that the maximum length of time Chen might be allowed to stay outside prison walls would be four months, none of which would count as ‘good time’ toward his sentence.

The enlarged medical verification team presented its appraisal of Chen’s condition on December 30 last year, stating that its opinion is "based on a variety of clinical symptoms described above which show that Chen Shui-bian is now suffering from progressive neurological degeneration occurring simultaneously in several different areas of the brain.” The team noted that medical staff at Taichung Veterans General Hospital have provided attentive care and aggressive treatment to Chen while he has been in Taichung prison. While problems with sleep apnea have been resolved, other symptoms have not exhibited any significant progress, indicating that Chen’s current medical regimen is still too limited.

Deputy Minister Chen said that experts in the team discussed Chen Shui-bian’s condition and reached the conclusion that the environment is most likely a factor in the current lack of improvement, bringing additional pressure that has resulted in continued degradation of Chen’s physical condition. The team noted that as a past head of state, Chen has been under tremendous pressure from confinement and has had serious difficulties making adjustments in his physical and mental state.

The medical team recommended first of all that Chen needs more frequent and more intense interaction with his family through home nursing, which would also allow him to get away from his current environment and begin working to improve his current state of health. Chen is suffering from serious mental disorders which cannot be addressed without full nursing assistance, something which the team believes the prison system cannot provide.

Secondly, based on the medical history of Chen Shui-bian over the past three years as well as discussions with prison guards and doctors and with the medical staff at Taichung Veterans General Hospital, the team believed conditions surrounding Chen have not been ideal. Given the severity of his ailments, the team feels that allowing Chen to receive adequate treatment outside the prison environment will be effective in protecting his health and his life and end degradation in his multiple medical problems. If these problems are not properly controlled there is danger of death at any time, they ruled, therefore the team proposed that Chen should be granted a medical parole based on the results of its findings.

Thirdly, based on respect for a former head of state and the law, the team recommended that a medical team should set up a schedule for future medical treatment for Chen, including complete medical assistance and maintenance of information on Chen’s condition in order to keep the Agency for Corrections and MOJ informed and up-to-date on his health situation while undergoing home treatment.

Chen Shui-bian’s son Chen Chih-chung arrived at Taichung Prison around 10:00am Monday morning to accompany the former president on his trip from Taichung to the family home in Kaohsiung.

Chen noted the presence of supporters outside Taichung Prison as well as a sea of yellow ribbons demonstrating support for the former president. The younger Chen said the family will cooperate fully with prison authorities on issues such as security arrangements and the route to be taken in transporting Chen home
Chen’s last night in Taichung Prison was observed outside by members of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign as well as hundreds of supporters from city and county associations in Kaohsiung and elsewhere. They held flowers and flags to show support former President Chen as various political figures began to assemble to greet Chen as he began his trip home.

Following the Ministry of Justice’s announcement Monday that Chen had been granted a medical parole, the Taichung District Prosecutors Office revealed that bail had been set at NT$2 million in the case. With that, former senior presidential adviser Koo Kuan-min rushed from Taipei to Taichung to deliver funds to secure the release of the former president on bail.

Koo arrived at the Taichung District Prosecutors Office (TCDPO) at about 2:30pm with the cash required to meet bail along with former legislator Liu Wen-ching, who accompanied Koo to assist in handling bail formalities.

It had originally been thought that the "well-heeled" Liu would need to stand as a guarantor for Chen in order to obtain his release. Officials at TCDPO ruled, however, that in consideration of Chen’s sentence, his medical condition and family situation as well as factors such as human rights and humanitarian grounds, that bail should be set at NT$2 million, and once the funds had been handed over Chen was cleared for release on medical parole.

Chen Chih-chung expressed his thanks to Koo and Liu for their roles in obtaining funds and handling the bail payment.

The younger Chen noted that the medical team handling the Chen Shui-bian case will discuss plans for treatment as soon as possible in order to ensure that the former president’s condition does not deteriorate. He added that the family respects the opinions of the medical experts involved in the case and expressed his hopes that his father’s condition will improve with the home environment and stimulus from family members.

Updated : 2021-09-22 05:28 GMT+08:00