TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Photographs of a Chiayi city councilor attending her father’s funeral in handcuffs and leg shackles during pre-trial detention on Wednesday (March 23) has drawn ire from the public.
Independent City Councilor Tai Ning (戴寧) has been held incommunicado since mid-March on suspicion of embezzling more than NT$5 million (US$175,784) in pay meant for aides. Her father, former Chiayi City Councilor Tai Chien-shan (戴建三), passed away last Sunday (March 20).
As Tai Ning had not seen her father again before he died, she requested to be freed on bail so that she could attend his funeral. However, her request was denied by the Chiayi District Court.
Pursuant to Article 23 of the Detention Act, Tai Ning then applied with the Chiayi Detention Center to attend the funeral, which she was permitted to do Wednesday morning, CNA reported.
However, media reports containing images of her kneeling in front of her father’s coffin in the memorial hall while handcuffed and shackled have been met with a public backlash, with some accusing the authorities of being inhumane.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said the fact that the Agency of Corrections had required a detainee not yet convicted of any crime to be restrained in such a manner while attending a family member’s funeral is against the customs of Taiwanese society and exposes the agency as mired in red tape.
In response, the Chiayi Detention Center said its requirement that the city councilor wear handcuffs and leg shackles at the funeral was in accordance with the law but that in the future, it will consider taking a different approach based on the circumstances of each case, according to the CNA report.
Tai Ning (CNA photo)