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Ex-President Chen sent to Taichung prison hospital for rest of sentence

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Justice (法務部) confirmed yesterday that Chen Shui-bian has been transferred to a prison hospital in Taichung, where he will serve out the remainder of his 20-year sentence for corruption.

At a Friday press event, the deputy justice minister confirmed that Chen was transferred to Taichung Prison during the night, after seven months of in-patient treatment at Taipei Veterans General Hospital (榮總).

Chen will keep receiving medical care at Pei-de Hospital (培德醫院), a 243-ping facility that's part of Taichung Prison, according to the Justice Ministry.

Last September, Chen was moved from Taipei Prison to Taipei Veterans General Hospital to be treated for clinical depression, cardiopulmonary disease and other ailments. In March, his team at the government hospital urged a discharge, recommending that Chen be sent home for care or transferred to a medical ward closer to his family in Kaohsiung

The ministry said yesterday that home care is not an option for prison inmates, and that Chen Shui-bian does not qualify for the legal equivalent — medical parole — because his condition can be still be treated within available prison facilities.

The Groundsv

The environment at Pei-de Hospital is a marked improvement on Taipei Prison, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The Taichung grounds offer a total of 243 ping for Chen's exclusive use. “No other inmate could receive this caliber of treatment,” said Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂), who played a videotaped tour for local media on Friday.

The video showed landscaped lawns, a reception area and ample exercise equipment, which the deputy minister said would be available to Chen for at least an hour a day.

The video also showed Chen's cell, a 9.2-ping space with bookshelves, an anti-slip shower, a desk, a spring mattress and hardwood flooring.

Pei-de Hospital is “spacious and well-lit” compared to Chen's environment at Taipei Prison, during which he was largely confined to a 1.38-ping cell, according to Chen Ming-tang.

Chen's Response

The deputy minister told reporters that Chen, who checked in at 7:20 a.m. on Friday, had been “neither defiant nor maladaptive” upon arrival.

At the same press event, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) responded that Chen Ming-tang is “lying” and “generating social opposition,” claims that he denied each time.

Also yesterday, an opposition party councilor said that the patient had attempted suicide upon news of a potential transfer.

After being alerted of a possible transfer, Chen attempted suicide by hanging at 10 p.m. on Thursday, according to the councilor. Hospital authorities were able to stop Chen and save his life, according to Taipei City Councilor Chiang Chih-ming (江志銘).

April 20, 2013    skylarjones@
Let him hang himself and save the taxpayers some money.
April 21, 2013    dpp4sale@
Wish him death!!!
April 22, 2013    jamesjohnson@
Incomplete and misleading reporting. The Taipei Veterans Hospital recommended medical parole, not "his team." Chen was sent to Veteran's Hospital for independent evaluation and care by the Ministry of Justice.

And, one of the key witness against Chen has recanted his story, saying the prosecution forced him to lie. No investigation, no reporting.
April 25, 2013    bobsally24@
Are we to understand that no where within the prison system in Taiwan, will you find any "sick" prisoners? If there is to be any reprieve or reduction of sentence, should not the "prisoner" and family be required to return all the monies that they stole from the people of Taiwan? Additionally if he is lonely while in the "prison resort" why not have his wife start her sentence and room with him. But I guess that in Taiwan there are no prisoners that are not healthy.
April 26, 2013    jacknatr@
When truly insightful understanding is not fully obtained, love and compassion are replaced by ignorant rules. Only hatred, violence, craving and greed will be used to solve and silence all others who are considered enemies. The circle of ill will just happen again and again to everyone who is still accepting to live with closed eyes, darkness of greed, fear and ignorance. Only unconditional love, compassion and care will bring true understanding to allow happiness to come to everyone heart and mind when fear is subside, ignorance is fade and peace and liberation will come!!
May 1, 2013    skylarjones@
Depression, sleep apnea, mental problems. Sounds like he's doing exactly what he should be doing: Paying for his crimes.
May 1, 2013    Upwell@
It’s sometimes inevitable that when considering an issue that is sensitive, we forget to be reasonable with the use of our minds and that is reflected in our language. Hence calling for death or whatever undesirable to happen to a prisoner probably is uncalled for. If the crimes are such that the ultimate penalty of death is warranted the laws of the land would have prescribed that. However it was not so. Similarly to simply call for a blanket gift of love and forgiveness without the defaulting party paying back to society for his misdeeds, is equally undesirable. So let us leave aside our knee jerk reaction to such. Let see if there can be a balance where a prisoner serves his time with sufficient dignity like all other ordinary prisoners should. If he be sick, get a doctor but he must still acknowledge that this day, he no longer lives in glory where a cough or two warrants specialist medical attention with the news media to report on. There is a season for that but that is gone. Consider us lucky for in ancient times, going to jail would be a reward as losing one's head for lesser crimes was not uncommon. Show our love and compassion to this prisoner but do the same to all prisoners in as much as they are there because the laws of the land require of them. Otherwise we would still be in the Stone Age. And that is a fearful thing.
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This file photo provided by the Ministry of Justice shows former President Chen Shui bian's cell at Pei-de Hospital (培德醫院) of Taichung Prison. Chen's cell is roomy and well-furnished with bookshelves, an anti-slip shower, a desk, a spring mattress and hardwood flooring, according to the ministry. (CNA)

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