The Control Yuan yesterday approved a report that found “flaws” and “negligence” in the manner in which the Ministry of Justice and Taipei Prison have been handling imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) health problems, but they were not charged with censure.
Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) yesterday finally had his investigation into Chen’s case approved at a meeting of the Committee on Judicial and Prison Administration Affairs — the fourth time that he had attempted to correct the ministry and Taipei Prison.
The Control Yuan’s endorsement of the report came only after Huang gave up trying to launch a censure motion, because he had failed with three previous attempts.
At a press conference where he released a 32-page excerpt of what he said was a report of more than 200 pages, Huang said his investigation, joined by nine leading physicians in their respective fields, called for medical parole to be granted to Chen.
Chen, serving a 18-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption following a controversial trial, has been behind bars for more than four years. He has been hospitalized at Taipei Veterans General Hospital for severe depression, among other ailments, since September last year.
Huang launched an investigation in September last year after National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) filed an appeal to look into the ways in which the judicial system had dealt with Chen’s poor health.
Huang said his team had visited Chen four times over the past several months, the last time being on Sunday, and they found that Chen’s health was deteriorating rapidly.
He showed video footage taken on that day of Chen being asked to perform a walking test, in the presence of several physicians and a Taipei Prison official.
The footage showed that Chen had difficulty walking, he was unable to walk forward when he was told to do so and kept falling down if not being held up, he had difficulty walking in a straight line and struggled to walk with his eyes closed.
Huang said that Chen has serious problems with his hands, which were shaking uncontrollably, and he has a bad stammer.
Chen Rong-chi (陳榮基), a neurologist who was present at the press conference, said that the former president suffers from multi-system lesions in his brain, including in the frontal lobe, in the temporal lobes, in the cerebral white matter beneath the cerebral cortex and in the cerebellum.
“While causes are yet to be determined, [Chen Shui-bian] has brain lesions,” he said.
National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that Chen was close to death.
Neither the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) nor the Democratic Progressive Party needed to worry because Chen would not be able to create problems in national politics if he was released, Ko said.