Amnesty for ex-President Chen Shui-bian can soften confrontation: Taiwan Premier
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2012-10-13 02:34 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A special amnesty for jailed former President Chen Shui-bian could soften the mood of confrontation between government and opposition camps, Premier Sean Chen told lawmakers.

The former head of state was sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in prison on corruption charges, but has been spending the past three weeks at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei for medical tests and to recover from a severe depression. Doctors have launched a campaign for medical parole and long-term treatment outside of prison, while others also want President Ma Ying-jeou to give his opponent an amnesty.

During legislative questioning Friday, ruling Kuomintang lawmaker Chen Ken-te asked the premier if he approved of a special amnesty. The premier first replied that this measure belonged to the prerogatives of the president, and that only president and Ministry of Justice played a part, not the premier.

After the lawmaker insisted on a reply to his question, the premier made his statement about reducing confrontation.

The KMT lawmaker from Taoyuan County said the opposition Democratic Progressive Party could propose the amnesty, which could then be discussed in negotiations between the parties.

Such a means could not only resolve political confrontation within society, but also allow all of society to stand together and concentrate on the improvement of the economy, Chen said.

Earlier, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin was one of the rare KMT leaders to come out in support of medical parole for the former president and DPP leader.

The Ministry of Justice and the Taipei Prison have been criticized for being too reluctant to give Chen adequate medical treatment, sometimes with arguments that hospitals refused to accept him or did not have the proper equipment.

On Thursday, the former president rejected reports that he might soon leave the Veterans General Hospital and move either to Tamshui or Kaohsiung.

Chen and his family said right from the start that they preferred him to stay at a hospital in Southern Taiwan, where most of his relatives live. His son also said he distrusted the Veterans General Hospital because of its image as being close to the military and to the KMT government.

Reports said prison officials and friends of Chen had been visiting other hospitals to prepare for a move, but a statement from his office said he was willing to stay.

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