Former first lady to be evaluated for imprisonment

Staff Writer, with CNA

Sat, Jan 22, 2011 - Page 3

Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), who is paralyzed from the waist down, must be taken to a prison hospital to undergo a fitness evaluation before a decision can be made as to whether she will be incarcerated, Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) said yesterday.

Speaking at a pre-Lunar New Year holiday news conference, Tseng said the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office has sent Wu’s medical records to Pei Teh Hospital — the medical facility connected to Taichung Prison — to facilitate the assessment.

“Pei Teh’s management told us that Wu’s ability to deal with daily activities can be assessed only after she is taken to the hospital,” Tseng said.

Asked if the ministry has a timetable for Wu to begin serving her sentence, Tseng said it would respect the judgment of the medical professionals conducting the evaluation and abides by the law in dealing with each case.

Wu and her husband, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), were each sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison by the Supreme Court last November for taking bribes in a land deal and in relation to a personnel appointment case during Chen’s presidency from 2000 to 2008.

The Taiwan High Court ruled last month that Wu and Chen should each serve 17-and-a-half years.

Chen was moved to Taipei Prison in Taoyuan County on Dec. 2 to begin serving his sentence, after having been held at a detention center since late 2008.

Judicial authorities are still considering how Wu should serve her sentence, given that she has been paralyzed from the waist down since being repeatedly run over by a truck in 1985 and is confined to a wheelchair.

At a separate setting yesterday, a Taichung Prison secretary, Lin Chih-hsiung (林志雄), said that a medical team at Pei Teh Hospital had already undertaken an initial review of Wu’s medical records.

“As Wu’s medical records are extensive, the team has suggested that she be taken to the hospital for an in-person evaluation of her fitness for incarceration,” Lin said, adding that the prison has informed the ministry of the medical team’s advice.