There is growing concern and anger in the US over the way that former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is reportedly being treated in prison.
Representative Edward Royce, a California Republican, has written to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) appealing for Chen to be granted medical parole.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Action Center founder Jack Healy published an opinion piece in the Huffington Post, saying the Taiwanese government was “engaging in willful medical neglect” of Chen.
Shortly before that, -California Representative Dan Lungren asked the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to intervene on Chen’s behalf.
In his letter to Ma dated yesterday, Royce — a member of the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus — cited “disturbing reports regarding the deterioration in the health and physical condition” of Chen.
He said that Chen is suffering from prostate cancer, acute coronary syndrome and significantly reduced blood flow to the heart.
Royce said that Chen is confined to a damp, undersized cell for nearly 24 hours a day under conditions that violate rules set for the treatment of prisoners by the UN.
“I therefore respectfully request that you grant former president Chen medical parole in order to receive adequate medical treatment and to ensure the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all,” he added.
Coen Blaauw, an official with the Washington-based Formosa Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), said: “There is a mounting chorus of indignation and anger in [US] Congress about the inhumane treatment of Chen. It is just terrible.”