Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Chen Shui-bian backers urge immediate release

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Supporters of imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday submitted a petition to the Legislative Yuan calling for the physically and emotionally exhausted Chen to be immediately released from Taipei Prison, where he is serving a 17-and-a-half-year term on corruption charges.

“It doesn’t take a physician to understand that Chen is unhealthy if you’re able to meet him face-to-face,” Taipei Veterans General Hospital physician Kuo Cheng-deng (郭正典), who is part of a six-member task force comprised of physicians and rights advocates monitoring Chen’s health, told a press conference held outside the legislature.

The task force, which includes National Taiwan University physician Ko Wen-che (柯文哲) and former Northern Taiwan Society director Janice Chen (陳昭姿), has visited Chen three times for preliminary examinations.

Two symptoms — gastroesophageal reflux and a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of the main artery of the lung — are among the 13 conditions the task force found which they listed as being of serious concern, Kuo said.

Chen’s character also appears to be flagging, given that everything he does in his cell is monitored by 24-hour surveillance cameras, he said.

This explains why Chen would pledge to leave prison alive on the one hand and would then be contemplating suicide on the other, Kuo said.

The demonstration was held in front of the legislative body with about 200 people from various civic organizations taking part and holding placards and banners urging Chen be released for medical treatment.

Seeking better medical treatment would be nothing more than a reaffirmation of Taiwan’s support for freedom and human rights, Janice Chen said.

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