Hundreds of activists and supporters of Taiwan's jailed ex-president Chen Shui-bian gathered outside his prison yesterday to demand his release as a former US government official visited him.
The crowd, mostly from the southern stronghold of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, chanted slogans and waved placards that said "Free Chen now" and "Stop political persecution."
Former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, who has long had links with the DPP, said after his visit to the jail outside Taipei: "He is obviously suffering from the confinement. He is not healthy."
But he added Chen's will is strong.
Chen's family and some DPP members say the former leader is in bad physical shape and have appealed for his medical parole, but it was rejected.
Chen, jailed for more than 17 years on bribery charges, also faces graft charges stemming from presidency between 2000 and 2008. He and family members have been accused in a complex network of cases of sending political donations and secret diplomatic funds abroad, laundering millions of US dollars and taking kickbacks.
But he says the legal action against him is a political vendetta carried out by poticial rival the Kuomintang.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012