Fri, Feb 11, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Former first lady set for medical evaluation for jail

Staff Writer, with CNA

Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) has been ordered to report to Taichung Prison’s Pei Teh Hospital next Friday to undergo an evaluation to see if she is well enough to serve a lengthy jail sentence, her son said yesterday.

Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) said his family was deeply worried about the decision by judicial authorities because his mother, who is paralyzed from the waist down, cannot care for herself on a daily basis.

“If she were forcibly incarcerated, it would be no different than killing her,” Chen said.

He said that under the law, prisons should reject convicts who lack the ability to look after themselves, and he urged doctors to make a careful diagnosis of his mother’s condition.

Last November, the Supreme Court ruled that Wu and her husband, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), should serve a total of 19 years in jail for taking bribes during his term as president.

The Taiwan High Court in December set the sentence at 17.5 years each for the couple.

Chen Shui-bian, who had been held at a detention center since late 2008, was moved to Taipei Prison in Taoyuan County on Dec. 2 to begin serving his time. Prison authorities are now considering how Wu should serve her sentence, given her health condition.

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday that it would abide by the law in handling Wu’s case, respecting the outcome of an assessment by doctors and follow humanitarian principles.

Following legal procedures, Wu, who is living in Kaohsiung, will be driven by ambulance to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office before being sent to Pei Teh Hospital for an evaluation.

If the former first lady is found to be well enough to serve time, she will begin serving her sentence immediately after the evaluation. Otherwise, she will be sent back home to await a further decision by prosecutors.

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