Paperwork delay for Chen's medical parole 'unreasonable'

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je said yesterday that the Ministry of Justice's (MOJ) reason for the delay in former president Chen Shui-bian's medical parole approval "sounds unreasonable."

The MOJ said on Dec 31 that Chen's medical parole paperwork was stuck in traffic while in transport.

The Agency of Corrections (AOC) was not able to examine the paperwork in time for Chen's timely release before the start of the long weekend holiday.

According to the MOJ, Chen's medical parole will be examined on Jan 5 when work resumes.

The MOJ's reasoning makes no sense to him, Ko said, since "paperwork can be faxed and emailed within 3 seconds."

When asked if he thinks the MOJ is purposely giving Chen a hard time, Ko said that he does not know what the MOJ is doing.

As for Chen's medical parole saga, Ko said he has maintained his view all along, which is to allow Chen Shui-bian to return home for medical care.

Ko critiqued the MOJ and said that important matters "should be executed beautifully."

Former vice-president Annette Lu's office said yesterday that Lu was treated at a hospital for leg cramps, high blood pressure, low blood sugar and other fasting symptoms.

Lu is currently resting at National Taiwan University Hospital and thanks the public for their concern, said the office.

Lu started a hunger strike on Dec 28 to protest the delay in Chen's medical parole approval.

On New Year's Eve, Lu said that she would be attending the Presidential Palace flag-raising ceremony.

Members of Lu's medical team were worried about her health condition since she had been fasting for more than 80 hours.

The expert team suggested medical treatment for Lu and said that if need be, they would force Lu to go to the hospital.

Lu did not end up attending the New Year's Day flag-raising ceremony.

Lu's office posted on Facebook yesterday and said that after 81 hours of fasting, Lu's body was not doing well.

Lu was sent to the National Taiwan University Hospital's emergency room in the middle of the night yesterday.

Supporters urged Lu to seek medical care despite her persistent refusal to go to the hospital.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said that due to the AOC's "administrative laziness," Chen Shui-bian was not able to go home.

Chen Chu said that the AOC's actions ignore human rights.

Chen Chu said she will be visiting her old friend when Chen Shui-bian returns to Kaohsiung.

A Phone Call Home

The Taichung prison said yesterday that although Chen Shui-bian was emotionally stable after learning that he would not be able to return home on New Year's Eve, he still felt let down.

The Taichung prison said that Chen Shui-bian was allowed to call home due to their "humanitarian spirit."

Many Chen Shui-bian supporters who waited outside of the Taichung prison were not able to digest the MOJ's reasoning for Chen Shui-bian's paperwork delay.