FAPA Urges U.S. Government To Call For Medical Parole For Former President Chen

On behalf of the Taiwanese-American community, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama on March 20, 2012, expressing concerns about the deteriorating health and physical condition of former president Chen Shui-bian, who is currently serving 19 years of several concurrent prison sentences. The former head of state has been incarcerated for over 1200 days.

In the letter to President Obama, FAPA stated that Chen had been sentenced on corruption charges that are widely believed by international observers and legal scholars to be politically motivated.

The letter describes the recent hospitalization of the former President, during which Chen was diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome, significantly reduced blood flow and a prostate tumor.  It was also discovered that for more than 14 months, he had been prescribed an anti-anxiety medication without his knowledge or consent.

Chen’s doctors attributed the cause of his degraded physical condition to an inactive life style and long-term deprivation of sunlight inside the prison.  Noting that “”[U]nlike other inmates, who are able to work eight hours a day in prison factories, the former President is only permitted 30 minutes of outdoor exercise each day,” the letter calls these conditions “demeaning,” and “a clear violation of the principles established in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.””

Invoking Section 2(c) of the Taiwan Relations Act which establishes “the preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan” as objectives of the United States, FAPA calls on the Obama administration to urge Taiwan’s government to grant Chen medical parole in order to receive necessary medical treatment.

FAPA President Dr. Mark Kao comments: “We decided to appeal to US President Obama, since we believe that the US highly values human rights.  As citizens of the United States, we feel strongly about democracy in Taiwan, for which we fought so hard for so many years.”

He adds: “Such demeaning conditions as currently being endured by President Chen are unprecedented in the treatment of a former head of state of a democratic country.  The fact that he is held in a damp, undersized cell of 50 sq ft, which he has to share with a cellmate is an obvious attempt by the Ma administration to humiliate the former President.  The fact that he is not even allowed a bed, a chair or a desk, so he has to sit and write on the floor, is a violation of basic human rights.”

Dr. Kao concludes: “The treatment of a former head of state in this manner is not only demeaning to him as a person, but also undermines the quality of the democracy in our homeland.  It is more reminiscent of the ways the old Chinese emperors dealt with their predecessors. This has no place in this modern day and age, and is certainly not in keeping with the high standards of human rights and democracy for which Taiwan should stand.”

台灣人公共事務會呼籲美國政府敦促台灣,使陳前總統能保外就醫

台灣人公共事務會於2012年3月20日,代表台美人社區,致函歐巴馬總統,表達對台灣政府侵犯台灣前任總統陳水扁獄中人權的憂慮。陳現在正於獄中服19年的刑期,並已待超過1200天。

在給歐巴馬總統的信函中,台灣人公共事務會指出,許多國際觀察家及法律學者皆認為陳的貪污罪刑是有政治動機的。

信函中描述前總統最近就醫的狀況,在健康檢查中陳被診斷出患有急性冠心症、心肌缺氧及攝護腺出現腫塊。除此之外,院方也發現,在過去的14個多月,他在不知情並未獲同意的情況下,服用了反焦慮的藥物。

陳的醫師將他體能狀況惡化的原因,歸咎於運動量不足及長期在監獄裡缺乏日光照射。值得注意的是,「不像其他受刑人,每日可以在監獄從事勞動服務達八小時,前總統每日只被允許有30分鐘的戶外活動時間」。信函中稱這些限制為「辱人的」,並且「明顯侵犯在『聯合國囚犯待遇標準最低規範』中所條列的規章」。

引用台灣關係法的2(c)部分條文,美國的政策目標中提到「台灣全體人民的人權之維護及加強」,台灣人公共事務會因此呼籲歐巴馬政府促使台灣政府讓陳保外就醫,使他能夠獲得必要的醫療照護。

台灣人公共事務會會長高龍榮表示:「我們決定訴諸美國總統歐巴馬,因為我們相信美國對人權高度重視。身為美國公民,我們極度關心台灣的民主和人權,因為我們為了它打拼許多年。」

他補充:「在民主國家中,幾乎沒有一位前任領袖像陳總統受到這樣的羞辱對待。他與囚友共居在潮濕狹小的1.38坪牢房,沒有床舖、寫作的桌子或椅子,只能席地而坐寫文章,無疑是馬政府意圖羞辱前總統的作為。他在獄中所受待遇明顯地違背了他的基本人權。」

他於最後指出:「對於前總統如此的對待,不僅有辱他的人格,也是減低台灣民主的品質。這好似古代皇帝清算前朝皇帝的作為。在現代的社會這種情形是不該發生的,也不符合台灣應持守的最高人權及民主標準。」

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

President Barack H. Obama                             March 20th , 2012

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC, 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As Americans of Taiwanese descent, who are concerned about the state of democracy and human rights in Taiwan, we write you to call your attention to disturbing reports about the deteriorating health and physical condition of former President Chen Shui-bian, who is in detention.

The former Head of State of Taiwan is currently serving 19 years on two concurrent sentences related to corruption charges that are widely believed by international observers and legal scholars to be politically motivated. He has been incarcerated for over three years now.

Our renewed concern about his case stems from the fact that on March 7, he was taken to Taoyuan General Hospital and diagnosed with a prostate tumor, an acute coronary syndrome and significantly reduced blood flow to the heart, the last of which is potentially fatal.  It was also discovered that for the past 14 months, Chen had been prescribed an anti-anxiety medication without his knowledge or consent.  He was returned to prison a few days later, after undergoing an urgent cardiac catheterization procedure.

The doctors at Taoyuan General Hospital attribute his poor health to long-term deprivation of sunlight, lack of exercise and an inactive life style inside the prison, where he is confined 24 hours a day to a damp, undersized cell measuring approximately 50 square feet.  The cell has no bed, chair or desk, forcing the former President to sit and sleep on the floor.

Unlike other inmates, who are able to work eight hours a day in prison factories, the former President is only permitted 30 minutes of outdoor exercise each day.  These conditions are demeaning and a clear violation of the principles established in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Mr. President, we recall that Section 2(c) of the Taiwan Relations Act passed by Congress on April 10th 1979 states, “”The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States.””

On behalf of our community we respectfully request that you strongly urge the government of Taiwan to grant former president Chen medical parole in order to receive adequate medical treatment in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

(Was signed)

Mark Kao Ph.D.

President, Formosan Association for Public Affairs

cc: Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton

(March 22, 2012) FAPA Urges U.S. Government To Call For Medical Parole For Former President Chen / 台灣人公共事務會呼籲美國政府敦促台灣,使陳前總統能保外就醫