The suicide attempt earlier this week by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was a direct result of inadequate medical treatment, the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, FAPA expressed its “deep concern” for what it called “this further downturn” in Chen’s health.
“This serious deterioration is primarily due to the fact that the former president has received inadequate medical care since he was moved to Pei Teh Prison in Taichung on April 19,” the statement said.
The Taiwanese-American “grassroots organization” is meeting with members of the US Congress this week to help organize a protest about Chen’s living conditions.
“This is apparently the third or fourth time that the former president has attempted to take his own life,” the statement said.
Before being relocated to Taichung Prison’s Pei Teh Hospital, Chen, serving a 20-year sentence for corruption, was being treated at Taipei Veterans General Hospital where — according to FAPA — he received treatment for his medical and psychiatric ailments.
FAPA said that at Pei Teh Hospital there is no medical team to help Chen and he has received no treatment for depression.
Several members of the US Congress have already urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to grant medical parole so that Chen can either go home to be treated or be sent to a residential hospital where psychiatric care is available.
“FAPA will continue to work with the US Congress and the [US President Barack] Obama administration to make it clear to the Taiwan authorities that continued imprisonment of Chen is severely damaging the international image of Taiwan as a free and democratic nation,” the statement said. “Release on medical parole is the only humanitarian and responsible solution.”