Dismissing the Ministry of Justice’s statement that former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will have an exclusive 243 ping (803m2) area in Taichung Prison’s Pei Teh Hospital, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday quoted Chen as saying that what he really needs is medical care.
“It means nothing even if the entire Taichung Prison was at my disposal, because what I desperately need is medical care,” Su quoted Chen as saying after visiting the former president.
Su quoted Chen as saying that he originally held high hopes for being granted medical parole or home-based convalescence given the diagnosis of his ailments at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.
Chen has been diagnosed with severe depression, sleep apnea, non-typical Parkinson’s disease, a speech disorder and mild cerebral atrophy.
The DPP said that as Pei Teh only had a support group of physicians from the Taichung Veterans General Hospital and the China Medical University Hospital, and lacked a professional medical team of its own, the choice of hospital could pose a problem for the former president.
It was incomprehensible that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had turned down an opportunity to facilitate social harmony and instead allowed the ministry to make a judgement that went against the professional medical opinion that Chen would be better looked after at home, Su said.
“The DPP will continue exploring substantial ways to assist the former president,” Su added.
Meanwhile, the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs on Friday urged US President Barack Obama and the US Congress to express their “deepest concerns” about the latest developments concerning Chen.
The way the transfer was implemented flies in the face of norms and standards in a democratic country, the association said in a statement.
US Congressman Robert Andrews also wrote a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry saying the US “must clearly express itself in favor of a medical parole on humanitarian grounds.”