Fri, May 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Chen Shui-bian should speak at dinner: groups

THERAPY:One advocate said the fundraiser would allow the former president to have social interactions, which could be beneficial to his health condition

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen, right, speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should be allowed to attend and speak at a fundraising event in Taipei tonight, pro-independence groups said yesterday, following a report that a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight had sought to prevent Chen from making a public appearance.

Taiwan Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen (張葉森) told an impromptu news conference in Taipei that DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) visited Chen at the former president’s residence in Kaohsiung on Wednesday night to convince him not to attend the event and instead make a video address.

Chen, who served more than six years of a 20-year prison term on several convictions for corruption before his release on medical parole in 2015, planned to attend a Ketagalan Foundation dinner.

Ker has served as an intermediary between Chen and Taichung Prison, the judicial authority for Chen’s parole.

Citing Janice Chen (陳昭姿), a member of Chen Shui-bian’s volunteer civilian medical team who spoke with the former president on Wednesday, Chang said Chen Shui-bian was distressed by Ker’s visit, but it remains unclear whether he would accept Ker’s suggestion.

Chang criticized Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), saying the Ministry of Justice had not approved Chen Shui-bian’s appearance at the event, which was a violation of his medical rights.

Chen Shiu-bian has suffered from severe depression, and interpersonal interactions could help improve his condition, but the ministry has denied him a chance for recovery, Chang said.

“The government has sought to attend the World Health Assembly to ensure the medical rights of its people, but it has failed to take care of the well-being of a former president, which is infuriating,” he said.

The ministry has “threatened” Chen Shui-bian against attending the dinner, but a 10-minute speech by the former president would not cost anything, Union of Taiwanese Teachers director-general Hsiao Hsiao-ling (蕭曉玲) said.

Chen Shui-bian applied with Taichung Prison as early as last month, Taiwan Society Hakka deputy chairman Hsu Kuo-chang (徐國昌) said, adding that the ministry should not interfere with his medical care.

They called for Chiu to resign if Chen Shui-bian is not allowed to attend the dinner, urging President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to pardon the former president, who they said was falsely convicted as part of a political persecution.

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