Taiwanese-American Organizations Call For Medical Parole For Former President Chen Shui-bian

In a letter dated 11 November 2014, ten Taiwanese American organizations sent a letter to Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou calling for the release on medical parole of former president Chen Shui-bian.

The organizations write: “While the Republic of China just celebrated the 103rd anniversary of its founding in China in 1911, the democratically elected former president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, is languishing in a Taichung jail. As a matter of fact, today, on November 11 it has been 6 years since Chen was sent to jail.”

They add: “Chen’s physical and psychological health has declined steadily over the years culminating in several suicide attempts due to severe depression. Attending doctors from Veterans Hospital in Taichung and medical experts at the Academia Sinica therefore recommended this past summer that Chen be released from jail on medical parole.”

“Concerns over President Chen’s incarceration have been raised on a number of occasions over the past years by members of Congress (U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot has repeatedly said it best: “Enough is enough.”) as well as by international scholars. However, your administration has been totally unresponsive to these international calls.”

“Additionally, over the years, the accusations against Chen of having violated the law have been found to have no merit. Case in point: as recent as this past August, the ROC Special Investigation Division said it had found no evidence in the “Palau Affair”, in which Chen was accused of money-laundering.”

“Chen was also found not guilty recently of misusing the State Affairs Fund and embezzling funds used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct diplomacy.”

They conclude: “[T]he joint Taiwanese American organizations urge you to grant medical parole to Chen, so that he can receive adequate treatment at home for his medical conditions.”

Mark Kao, Ph.D. the President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), which initiated the joint statement, states: “That a democratically elected former head of state is treated in such a deplorable manner by a sitting government is clearly in violation of the values of democracy and human rights that we in the U.S. hold high.”

Dr. Kao concludes: “Chen’s continued physical and psychological deterioration is an ongoing human rights nightmare for Chen and for Taiwan as a country. The Taiwan authorities need to understand that Chen’s imprisonment is severely damaging the international image of Taiwan as a free and democratic nation.”

台美社團呼籲馬政府准許陳前總統保外就醫

10個台美組織於11月11日致函台灣總統馬英九,呼籲其准許前總統陳水扁保外就醫。

信中寫道:「中華民國雖然剛慶祝其103年國慶,但其前任的民選總統─陳水扁先生仍在台中監獄逐漸凋零中。事實上今天(11月11日)便是陳前總統被關押的六週年。」

信中補充道:「陳前總統的身心健康都在過去幾年中逐漸惡化,並導致其數度企圖自殺。因此,台中榮民總醫院的醫師及中央研究院醫學專家於幾個月前建議准許陳前總統保外就醫。」

「過去幾年中,許多美國國會議員及國際級的學者都曾針對陳前總統被關押的情形表達關切,俄亥俄州共和黨眾議員夏波(Steven Chabot)更曾多次表示『(對陳前總統的關押)已經夠了!』然而,您對這些國際聲音並未予以理會。」

「除此之外,陳前總統被起訴的案件於過去幾年間一一被宣判無罪。今年八月,特別偵查組宣佈:針對陳前總統遭控訴帛琉洗錢案,查無實證簽結。」

「陳前總統被起訴的國務機要費案及貪汙外交款項案也均被宣判無罪。」

信中總結:「台美組織社團呼籲您准許陳前總統保外就醫,以利其返家接受適當的醫療照護。」

發起此公開信函的台灣人公共事務會會長高龍榮博士表示:「一個前任的民選國家元首,被其繼任者用這種可悲的方式對待,完全違反民主與人權等我們在美國所高度重視的假直。」

高博士總結道:「陳總統身心健康的持續惡化,不僅對他是一個惡夢,更是台灣這個國家的惡夢。執政者必須認清:陳前總統的關押情形,對台灣做為一個自由民主國家的國際形象有巨大的傷害。」

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President Ma Ying-jeou                November 11, 2014
Office of the President
Taipei, Taiwan

Dear President Ma:

While the Republic of China just celebrated the 103rd anniversary of its founding in China in 1911, the democratically elected former president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, is languishing in a Taichung jail. As a matter of fact, today, on November 11 it has been 6 years since Chen was sent to jail.

Because Chen’s dire situation is of grave concern to us Taiwanese Americans, we hereby urge you to grant Chen medical parole allowing him to recuperate at home amongst his family members.

After Chen’s imprisonment in November 2008, international observers, including former Harvard Law Professor Jerome Cohen, identified multiple lapses in due process and other serious procedural flaws by the prosecution during Chen’s trial in 2009 and in 2010.

Meanwhile, Chen was confined  virtually 24 hours a day to a damp, undersized prison cell in the Taoyuan County jail of about 50 square ft, with no bed, desk or chair but with a cellmate. After an international outcry, Chen was transferred to a new prison in Taichung in 2013.

Chen’s physical and psychological health has declined steadily over the years culminating in several suicide attempts due to severe depression.  Attending doctors from Veterans Hospital in Taichung and medical experts at the Academia Sinica therefore recommended this past summer that Chen be released from jail on medical parole.

Concerns over President Chen’s incarceration have been raised on a number of occasions over the past years by members of Congress (U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot has repeatedly said it best: “Enough is Enough.”) as well as by international scholars. However, your administration has been totally unresponsive to these international calls.

Additionally, over the years, the accusations against Chen of having violated the law have been found to have no merit. Case in point: as recent as this past August, the ROC Special Investigation Division said it had found no evidence in the “Palau Affair”, in which Chen was accused of money-laundering.

Chen was also found not guilty recently of misusing the State Affairs Fund and embezzling funds used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct diplomacy.

Finally, more than 60 percent of respondents in a poll held last week in Taiwan, support the idea of allowing Chen to receive medical treatment at home and many find it unacceptable that your government refuses to grant this.

Therefore, again, the joint Taiwanese American organizations urge you to grant medical parole to Chen, so that he can receive adequate treatment at home for his medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Formosan Association for Human Rights

Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Greater Washington

North America Taiwanese Women’s Association

Professor Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation

San Diego Taiwan Center

Taiwanese American Foundation of San Diego

Taiwanese Association of America

World Federation of Taiwanese Associations

World Taiwanese Congress

(November 10, 2014) Taiwanese-American Organizations Call For Medical Parole For Former President Chen Shui-bian / 台美社團呼籲馬政府准許陳前總統保外就醫