The Greater Taichung Council on Friday passed a motion calling for the release of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for medical treatment as soon as possible.
Chen, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison term for corruption, was diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome in early March and granted temporary release from Taipei Prison to receive treatment.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung City councilor Ho Ming-cheng (何敏誠), who initiated the motion, said its passing is a manifestation of the Greater Taichung Council’s strong democratic disposition and the importance it attaches to human rights.
In most democratic nations when former heads of state are under investigation, the judicial authorities usually implement house arrest or movement restriction to make sure investigations go smoothly and leaders are either jailed only after being found guilty in final verdicts, Ho said.
However, Chen was detained for several years during the prosecutorial investigations, a move which was politically motivated and ran contrary to the practice of democratic countries, Ho said.
Twenty-three DPP councilors, one Taiwan Solidarity Union councilor and two independent councilors endorsed the motion. Because the council’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) majority kept quiet during the action, the proposal was able to be approved.
When reached for comment, KMT council caucus whip Huang Hsin-hui (黃馨慧) said the pary had not even noticed the motion when reviewing council agenda, but added that since it had been approved, “[we might as well] let DPP colleagues have a chance to perform.”