Several doctors have launched an online petition calling for the release of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for medical treatment as soon as possible.
The conditions of Chen’s confinement in a 4.56m2 cell have affected his physical as well as mental health, said Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), director of the National Taiwan University Hospital’s traumatology department.
Chen, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison term for corruption, has been diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome in early March and was granted temporary release from Taipei Prison for cardiac catheterization and a medical checkup. Two tumors were also found on Chen’s prostate, but as of late last month, doctors said the tumors were benign.
Ko, Taipei Veterans General Hospital physician Kuo Cheng-tien (郭正典) and Taipei General Hospital vice president Kuo Chang-feng (郭長豐) visited Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Thursday to solicit his support for their petition.
While Su did not sign the petition, he said he was working in the same direction and that he was glad civic organizations were also concerned about Chen’s medical rights and privileges.
Su said he was also concerned about Chen’s rights.
“I have visited Chen in Taipei Prison before,” Su said, adding that the party had established a special division tasked with monitoring Chen’s health.
Su said the party had asked its legislative caucus to stress the need to uphold Chen’s medical rights and that if the former president’s health deteriorates and meets the conditions for temporary release for treatment, it should call on the government to release Chen as soon as possible.
“Only by such an action can the government show that it respects the human rights of inmates,” Su said.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff writer