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Yen Ching-piao often met with Chen in prison

An ex-legislator who has just been released on parole has revealed that he often met former President Chen Shui-bian while they were both imprisoned in Taichung.

Yen Ching-piao said he was able to talk to Chen through a fence separating them while doing farming work in prison.

The former president — who is still serving out an 18-year sentence for corruption — has his own quarters separating him from the rest of the inmates at the Taichung Penitentiary, Yen said, adding Chen has his own nurses and two bodyguards.

Yen, who served more than 400 days for corruption and illegal firearm possession, said Chen was eager to talk about the former legislator's impending parole weeks before his release.

But the independent former legislator, who remains hugely influential in the political circle in central Taiwan, said he knows very little about Chen's health conditions.

Chen's health has been the subject of frequent speculation, as his family and supporters have often claimed that he has developed both mental and physical problems.

The highest government watchdog Control Yuan has recently released a report urging the Ministry of Justice to grant Chen a medical parole.

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