Sun, Jun 18, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Doctors defend ex-president’s rights

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Doctors Lai Chi-wan, left, and Wu Shu-min, center, listen as Chen Yung-hsing, also a doctor, speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, accusing Taichung Prison of human rights violations.

Photo: Goerge Tsorng, Taipei Times

A group of doctors yesterday decried a Taichung Prison directive that requires former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to present medical records issued by doctors outside his medical team, saying the move has infringed upon Chen’s freedom to choose his medical staff.

The prison on Thursday issued a directive that Chen, who is on medical parole from a 20-year jail sentence for corruption, has to apply to the prison for leave when he wants to go outside his residence, after the former president violated several restrictions imposed by the Taichung Prison while at a fundraising dinner in Taipei last month.

Chen should present a diagnosis report from a second medical team when he next requests a medical parole extension, the directive added.

Chen’s three-month parole period is due to expire on Aug. 4.

Chen on Friday wrote a letter rejecting the request, saying that Kaohsiung Chang Kung Memorial Hospital Department of Neurology physician Chen Shun-sheng (陳順勝), who heads his medical team, knows his condition best.

Chen Shui-bian also questioned whether he is under house arrest, because he has to inform or apply to the prison whenever he wants to leave his residence.

In a statement released on Friday, the prison said that under parole regulations, requesting the former president to apply if he wants to leave his residence for non-daily activities, such as fundraisers, weddings or funerals, is a standard regulation which could not be construed as house arrest.

Speaking at a news conference in Taipei yesterday, Taipei Jen Chi Hospital physician Wu Shu-min (吳樹民) criticized the directives as “illogical” and disrespectful of Chen Shun-sheng’s expertise.

Implying it was the Presidential Office that pressured the prison to issue the directive, Chen Shun-sheng said that ensuring Chen Shui-bian’s well-being, as well as that of other prisoners, should be the main concern of the Taichung Prison, as well as all corrective facilities, and called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) not to send the former president back to jail.

The former president was released from Taichung Prison in January 2015, having been diagnosed with various ailments after being detained for more than six years.

Chen Shun-sheng added that he holds documented proof of Chen Shui-bian’s health condition if the prison has any doubts, adding that the Taipei Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, where Chen Shui-bian had been treated — would also be able to provide insight into his health condition.

The Ministry of Justice yesterday said it respected the opinion of the former president’s medical team, but said Taichung Prison is acting according to the law and that the ministry stands by the prison.

“There are no politics involved and there is no need to apologize,” the ministry said.

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