The crew cut given to former National Security Council secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) while in detention was not an act of discrimination, nor was it done with the intention to humiliate him, Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) told legislators yesterday.
The detention center's standard operating procedures call for detainees' hairstyles to be “simple and comfortable,” Wang told a meeting of the legislature's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.
The center does not provide hair dryers for security reasons and since long hair does not dry quickly in cold weather, the detention center was afraid that Chiou might catch a cold, so his hair was cut to about 3cm in length with Chiou's consent, she said.
Chiou's hair would not be cut without his consent, Wang said.
Everyone working at the detention center has a heavy workload and is under considerable stress, she said.
The public should sympathize with the staff and try to understand the measures they must take, Wang said, adding that if anyone thought the Ministry of Justice had done wrong, they should let the ministry know, so that officials could review the matter.
Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has not had his hair cut because it was short to begin with and it was not a matter of special treatment, Wang said.