International Observers Decry Ma Government Refusal To Grant Medical Parole To Former President Chen

A number of individuals and foreign observers who have spoken out over the past several months to express their concerns over the failing health of Taiwan’s incarcerated former president, Chen Shui-bian, today strongly rebutted recent statements from Taiwanese government officials that Chen did not qualify for medical parole.

According to press reports, representatives of Taiwan’s foreign and justice ministries stated at a joint press conference in Taipei on Friday, November 16, 2012 that as a former president, “Chen Shui-bian has been provided the best living conditions and healthcare to the extent permissible by law and by the prison’s current facilities,” and that Chen “does not meet the conditions required for medical parole.”

Ma administration officials also characterized the repeated calls for medical parole for Chen by foreign officials and international organizations as resulting from a “misunderstanding” of the case.

Former U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo, who saw the former President in Taipei on November 9 2012, categorically rejected the ministries’ claims that Chen’s health condition had improved, saying: “I hardly recognized President Chen when I met with him in the hospital.  There is no ‘misunderstanding’ about it.”  Tancredo continued: “President Ma should resist the partisan demands of a few people on the fringe of his party, and grant President Chen medical parole.  Taiwan’s democracy should be above this kind of political score settling.”

An American medical team that examined the former president in Taiwan in June called the government’s latest assertion regarding the adequacy of Chen’s treatment “a ludicrous exaggeration,” adding that “the limitations imposed on Chen in prison were in clear violation of the United Nations Minimum Standards for treatment of prisoners.”  The team—which included Dr. Ken Yoneda and Dr. Charles Whitcomb, both professors of medicine at the University of California, Davis—reiterated their first-hand assessment that Chen’s “substandard and inhumane” imprisonment conditions were “a major contributing factor, if not the cause of his current physical and mental problems.

The leader of the medical team, Joseph Lin, Ph.D., further indicated that the Ma administration’s “complete disregard and rejection of conclusions and recommendations of professional medical experts regarding the physical and mental condition of the former president” was “disturbing.”  Dr. Lin pointed out: “To justify this gross miscarriage of justice and human rights, they had to be dismissive of conclusions reached by many, including former U.S. government officials, various international organizations and a member of the European Parliament.”

Mr. Hans van Baalen, leader of the Dutch Liberals in the European Parliament and President of Liberal International, also refuted the government’s contention that medical parole was not appropriate, emphasizing: “I visited former President Chen in Taipei, and I am convinced that he deserves better treatment.  A medical parole is warranted, not only for the physical and mental health of President Chen himself, but also to help Taiwan on the path towards political reconciliation.”  Van Baalen saw Chen in person during a trip to Taiwan in early November 2012.

Mark Kao, PhD, President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, expressed his frustration with the Ma administration’s intransigence on this issue: “It is patently clear that there is now a broad consensus, both within Taiwan and overseas, about the need for medical parole for the former President Chen.  It is inexcusable for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Justice Ministry to hide behind legalisms while blaming the press for the widespread criticism of the government’s handling of Chen’s health.

Dr. Kao concluded: “As the Ma administration continues to drag its feet on doing the right thing and granting parole, the political divide in Taiwan will only continue to deepen, which will have a disastrous effect on Taiwan’s future as a free and democratic nation.

國際社會譴責馬政府拒絕陳前總統保外就醫

華府訊─多位在過去數月中持續發聲關心陳前總統的健康的國際人士,今天強烈譴責台灣政府官員宣稱陳前總統「不能」保外就醫一事。

據媒體報導,外交部與法務部於十一月十六日舉行的聯合記者會中宣稱:「台北監獄在法令容許範圍中,已給陳水扁監獄設施所能提供的最佳生活及健康照護。」並表示:「以陳水扁目前的病情,並不符合保外醫治的條件。」

馬政府也聲稱外國政要及國際組織持續聲援陳前總統保外就醫是因其對本案的「誤解」。

前美國眾議員譚奎多(Tom Tancredo)於十一月九日赴台北會見陳前總統,並駁斥法務部聲稱陳前總統的健康狀況已經改善的說法。他表示:「我去醫院見陳前總統時幾乎認不出他,這其中根本沒有任何『誤解』。馬總統應該要制衡少數黨內人士的要求,並准予陳前總統保外就醫。台灣的民主應凌駕於政治鬥爭之上。」

今年六月曾赴台北會見陳前總統的醫療團成員,對於台灣政府宣稱陳前總統獲得妥適的醫療照護表示其「荒唐又誇大」。他們表示監獄中的情況已經違反「聯合國囚犯待遇最低限度標準規則」。該團成員─加州大學戴維斯分校醫學教授米田謙(Ken Yoneda,音譯)醫師及查爾斯˙威康(Charles Whitcomb)醫師表示他們的第一手評估認為陳前總統不合標準且不人道的監進條件間接或直接造成其身心問題。

該醫療團領隊林文約博士表示:「馬政府完全忽略專業醫療團對陳前總統身心狀況的評估,很令人憂心。為了合理化此等對正義及人權的侵害,他們已經忽略了許多前美國政府官員、國際組織要員,及一名歐洲議會議員的聲音。」

歐洲議會中的荷蘭自由派領袖及國自由聯盟主席漢斯˙凡巴倫(Hans van Baalen)議員也駁斥馬政府宣稱陳前總統不適合保外就醫的說詞。他強調:「我曾在台北見過陳前總統,而我堅信他應該獲得更好的待遇。准予保外就醫,不只是為了陳前總統的身心健康,更是促進台灣的政治和諧。」凡巴倫議員曾於本月稍早赴台灣會見陳前總統。

台灣人公共事務會會長高龍榮博士也對台灣當局的頑固表示失望:「對陳前總統保外就醫的需要,在台灣及國際間都有共識。外交部及法務部沒有理由可以躲藏於法令之後並責怪媒體抨擊政府處理此事的做法。」

高博士總結道:「馬政府若持續拖延陳前總統的保外就醫,台灣的政治分化只會更加劇烈。這對台灣自由及民主的未來會帶來災難性的影響。」

(November 21, 2012) International Observers Decry Ma Government Refusal To Grant Medical Parole To Former President Chen / 國際社會譴責馬政府拒絕陳前總統保外就醫