Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) and Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to release former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from prison due to his deteriorating health, and accused the Ministry of Justice of manipulating public opinion about Chen with false information.
“I suggest that Chen be allowed to go home, and when he gets out of prison, he should stay out of politics, because he may be used due to his deteriorating brain condition,” Ko told a news conference at the Control Yuan held to release a report on Chen’s health in detention and in prison.
Ko, a physician and director of National Taiwan University Hospital’s traumatology department, is a member of a medical team set up to monitor Chen’s health.
Huang has hosted the investigation since September 2012, and has visited Chen in the Taipei Prison, the Taichung Prison and the Veterans’ General Hospital in Taipei when Chen was hospitalized there for several months.
A nine-member medical team accompanied Huang on each of his visits to the former president to examine and record Chen’s condition.
Ko said that he told the public a long time ago that Chen is ill, mentally and physically, but no one believed him. Instead, he had been accused of trying to get the public to sympathize with Chen, Ko said.
“However, panels of medical professionals from the veterans’ hospitals in Taipei and [Greater] Taichung reached the same conclusions after examining the former president’s health, and they also made the recommendation that Chen be allowed to return home, saying that it would be better for his recovery,” Ko said.
Ma should ignore his personal preferences, and think about what is best for Taiwan, Ko said.
“There may be rivalry in politics, but forgiving your enemy would show that you are a civilized person,” Ko said.
Lai Chi-wan (賴其萬), a neurologist, told the press conference that he was upset that he has been accused of lying about his professional assessment of the former president’s health by Chen’s political rivals.
“I am a medical professional; I make assessments based on my professional knowledge. Politics is not my concern when making assessments,” Lai said. “The Ministry of Justice should not use a short video clip shot from afar to reject the professional assessments of neurologists.”
Lai was referring to a video clip of Chen jogging that was released after a team of doctors released a report that said Chen was suffering from multiple disorders.
Huang said that while he is not a medical professional, it was clearly evident in his meetings with Chen that the former president’s health has deteriorated.
“In October 2012, Chen was able to stand straight. In May 2013, he was able to walk normally. However, in September 2013, he had to use a cane to walk, and in January this year, Chen had to use a wheelchair,” Huang said.
“If all the medical professionals who have seen Chen believe that he should be released and stay home in order to recover, that is what should be done,” Huang said.