President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should seize the opportunity to facilitate social harmony and accommodate mainstream public opinion by granting former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) medical parole, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
Su made the appeal again after visiting the imprisoned Chen, who was moved from Taipei Veterans General Hospital to Taichung Prison’s Pei Teh Hospital in Greater Taichung on Friday.
Veterans Hospital physicians and the private medical team of the former president, who is serving an 20-year sentence for corruption, advised Chen be allowed home care, so he could recover from a number of illnesses, including severe depression, sleep apnea, non-typical Parkinson’s disease, a speech disorder and mild cerebral atrophy, Su said.
The environment at Pei-Te Hospital is questionable, even though Chen now has an area of 803m2 of his own, Su said.
Taichung Prison was unable to answer which hospital — Taichung Veterans General Hospital or China Medical University Hospital — would be in charge of Chen’s treatment and Chen was still subject to video surveillance and inspections by hospital employees every 15 minutes, which is causing Chen’s anxiety-related depression, Su said.
Su also lamented Ma’s description of DPP lawmakers’ clash with the Ministry of Justice after Chen’s transfer on Friday as “offenses of obstructing an officer in discharge of duties” and the ministry’s statement that it planned to bring the DPP lawmakers to justice for their conduct.
Su was referring to incidents in which, after Chen’s sudden transfer on Friday, a group of DPP lawmakers barged into a ministry press conference and broke into Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu’s (曾勇夫) office.
DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) kicked and damaged the office door, while her colleagues shouted “chicken, come out.”
While the lawmakers have to held accountable for their behavior, it is “regrettable” that the head of state is “only trying to intensify social and political division,” Su said.