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Home Editorials of Interest Articles of Interest Congressman Steve Chabot to visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison

Congressman Steve Chabot to visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison

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Representative Steve Chabot will visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison

On April 26, Representative Steve Chabot [R-OH] announced his intention to visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison. The Cincinnati congressman is a founder of the Taiwan Caucus and has followed Chen’s case closely. Representative Chabot is chairman of a House subcommittee on Asia and is making a fact-finding tour of South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan next week.

Chen Shui-bian is the former president of the Republic of China in-exile from 2000 to 2008. Detained shortly after leaving office, Chen is now imprisoned on a lengthy sentence for alleged corruption. Chen was convicted in a controversial, no-jury trial. Jeffery Koo, Jr., the chief witness against Chen, has now recanted his testimony that he bribed Chen.

“I believe that former President Chen Shui-bian has been incarcerated long enough,” Steve Chabot told the Taipei Times. “The humanitarian thing to do would be to let Chen go home. However many years he has left, he should be able to spend that time with his family.”

Chabot continued, “Keeping him in prison for a day longer is unnecessary, wrongheaded and inhumane. He should be returned home at this point.”

Representative Chabot has previously criticized the Chen prosecution which Chabot sees as political. Chabot calls Chen’s case the “criminalization of politics” which reflects poorly on Chen’s successor, Ma Ying-jeou. Chabot denounced Chen’s prosecution and imprisonment in an outburst at a committee meeting of the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee two years ago.

Chabot had requested information from the ROC government about the trial of Chen and was supplied with copies of the charges against Chen and the court judgments.

“I read them, I read the reports and they didn’t change my mind at all,” Chabot explained to the Taipei Times. Chabot has no doubt heard from some of the Taiwanese voices crying out that Chen Shui-bian is a political prisoner.

Two issues continue to dog Ma Ying-jeou’s administration. One was the controversial trial with a handpicked judge and recanted testimony. Two, the harsh and severe prison punishment imposed on Chen who was even denied a bed.

The prison conditions Chen Shui-bian has had to cope with, a tiny cell, no furniture, 24-hour lighting, have broken the former president. Chen was hospitalized in a locked psychiatric unit at Taipei Veterans Hospital for six months because of his severe depression and degenerating neurological condition. The transfer to Taichung Prison in an unannounced pre-dawn move earlier in the month was preceded by an attempted suicide hanging by Chen using a shirt and the bathroom door handle.

Prison officials deny that Chen Shui-bian attempted suicide when informed of the transfer but that is contradicted by Chen’s doctor at Veteran’s Hospital, Dr. Chou Yuan-hua. Also, two of Chen’s volunteer doctors traveled to Taichung Prison four days after the move and examined Chen. Dr. C. D. Kuo and Dr. Chen Shuen-sheng both found a 13 cm red scar on Chen’s neck. The two doctors also found that no medical care had been provided to Chen during his first four days in the prison.

Representative Chabot will attempt to visit Chen Shui-bian at Taichung Prison next Friday.

Source: Michael Richardson - Boston Progressive Examiner

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The Executive Yuan yesterday announced it was dropping all charges against students who stormed its compound in Taipei in 2014 on the grounds that the filing of the lawsuits were prompted by political considerations in the first place.

At a news conference yesterday morning, Executive Yuan spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) said Premier Lin Chuan (林全) has ordered the withdrawal of all charges of criminal offenses that are indictable only upon complaint against 126 students who occupied the Executive Yuan in March 2014.