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Chen Shui-bian interview: “I think I’d be better off dead”
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-23 02:47 PM
Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung disclosed for the first time Tuesday the contents of an interview with former President Chen Shui-bian while he was at Taipei prison in which Chen lamented the harsh world of prison life. Chen complained about the strenuous conditions in jail, saying that sometimes he thinks he would be "better off dead." If he could, said Chen, he would do as former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun did and "jump to my death." That, said the former president, would be preferable to the torture of being in prison.

Chen said his inner soul is constantly torn with contradictions, sometimes making him wish he were dead. He said he does not want to go on being tortured like this in prison, with no end in sight.

Huang noted that he spent 626 days investigating the case of Chen Shui-bian and how he has been treated with respect to his medical and human rights. His completed investigation report was sent along with an official letter to President Ma Ying-jeou for reference.

Huang said that at the end of September last year he went to Taipei Prison to see Chen, and as he was leaving Chen kept shouting after him, "You haven’t interviewed me yet!" That was when he fully realized that Chen was helpless and had things deep inside him that he wanted to let out. Thus in October last year he began setting up an interview with Chen.

During the interview in January Chen touched on Ko Wen-je, the consolidated opposition candidate in the Taipei mayor’s race. "Ko said I am worthless, and at the time I thought he was just speaking nonsense. He can be very direct. But now I’m beginning to think that what he said was right."

Asked about his chances of being allowed to recuperate at home, Chen expressed little optimism. He said he felt the trial court was more concerned that he might try to avoid being tried than it was that he might have a legitimate need for medical parole. "They figured I was trying to get out of being tried, so just like Ko Wen-je said, they locked me up to die here.

“The doctors have already said I should recuperate at home,” said Chen, “so as far as the law is concerned, I should be released on medical parole."

Chen Shui-bian was sentenced to life in prison and fined NT$200 million on September 11, 2009, following a trial which supporters insist was unfair and politically motivated. His sentence was later reduced to 20 years in jail. He has been diagnosed as suffering from sleep apnea and other ailments and once tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide. Numerous appeals for a medical parole have been made on his behalf, all of which have been rejected by the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou.

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