Taiwan High Court rejects former president Chen's appeal for medical parole

Taiwan High Court rejects former president Chen's appeal for medical parole

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Taiwan High Court yesterday rejected an appeal made by former President Chen Shui-bian over his request for medical parole, suggesting that the disgraced ex-leader file for administrative litigation instead.

In a released statement, the High Court said that whether to approve an inmate's application for medical parole is not in its jurisdiction.

It is for the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to make such decisions, it said.

Since medical parole belongs in the category of administrative injunction, the High Court said if Chen is not satisfied with the MOJ's decision to deny his application, he should file for administrative litigation to the Administrative Court instead.

The High Court's announcement came one day after Chen filed an appeal to the court regarding the MOJ's previous decision to deny his application for medical parole.

The ex-president petitioned the MOJ for medical parole this June based on a diagnosis by Taichung Veterans General Hospital the previous month.

The plea, however, was rejected by the ministry, citing reasons that Chen has been receiving proper treatment at a prison hospital in Taichung.

Chen then raised an objection with the Taipei District Court, but this was rejected again because the court stated that it had no jurisdiction over the case.

In a possible softening of stance, Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay suggested Monday that aside from applying to the ministry again for medical parole, Chen could also file an appeal with the district court or raise an objection with the Taiwan High Court regarding the ministry's rejection.

Luo also said that if Chen were to apply for medical parole again, the ministry's Agency of Corrections would consider expanding the team assessing his suitability for medical parole to include doctors recommended by the medical sector and his family.

Chen was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined NT$250 million(S$10 million) after he stepped down as president in May 2008 for his part in a series of corruption cases.

He began serving his sentence on Nov. 11, 2010 and is now being held in Taichung Prison.

Recent Calls

Calls for the MOJ to grant medical parole have once more intensified since the 9-in-1 Elections late last month with the landslide victory of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), of which Chen is a former chairman.

Supporters for the ex-president's release include many bigwigs and current DPP mayors including Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, Tainan Mayor William Lai, Chiayi Mayor-elect Tu Hsing-tse, Taoyuan Mayor-elect Cheng Wen-tsang, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen and former Vice President Annette Lu.

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