Ex-President Chen sent to Taichung prison hospital for rest of sentence
By Enru Lin ,The China Post
April 20, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
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 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.
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).