Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday called on the Ministry of Justice to take seriously the advice of a medical team that assessed the health of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and be more flexible in handling the issue of his medical parole.
As the first political figure in the pan-blue camp to voice his support for Chen to be granted medical parole, Hau expressed concerns about the latest medical assessment of Chen’s conditions and said the ministry should handle the issue carefully.
“Chen Shui-bian is a former president, and I think the ministry should respect the assessment of the medical team and bear in mind that he is a retired president in handling the issue,” he said at Taipei City Hall.
Chou Yuan-hua (周元華), a psychiatrist in charge of Chen’s care at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, said on Monday that the former president is suffering from various ailments and that it would not be good for him to return to prison.
He said it would be better for the former president to be looked after at home or to stay in a hospital near his home that has a psychiatry department.
However, the ministry says Chen must remain in prison.
Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said Chen’s current medical treatment was sufficient to care for his long-term health and that his condition did not qualify him for medical parole.
Hau first voiced support for medical parole for Chen in August last year. President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration did not respond favorably to his suggestion and maintained that Chen should remain in prison.
The mayor said that since doctors have provided advice based on professional assessments, the ministry and related agencies should take the advice seriously.
The former president is serving a 20-year prison term for corruption. He has complained of various physical ailments, including chest pains.