( Note：Thanks to Prof. Jay Tu to tranlate this article into English. - Taiwan eNews)
Reporting Criminal Offenses of Minister of Justice for Abusing of Inmates
◎ Hong Ying Hua, the author is currently a presiding Judge
1. Force-feeding water to an inmate constitutes a criminal offense according to the criminal law in Taiwan.
The criminal law of Taiwan states that a prison staffer who is in charge of inmate detention should be sentenced to a jail term if he or she is found to be guilty of abusing inmates; If the abuse leads to grave injuries or even death, the term of the punishment to the staffer should be more severe. According to media reports, Legislator Lai Shyh-bao stated: Because Chen, the former president, was unable to urinate, the Minister of Justice ordered force-feeding of water, followed by close monitoring to verify if he would try to urinate to avoid other’s notice. After Minister of Justice realized that Chen indeed could not urinate, he finally gave orders to take Chen to a hospital. Dr. CD Kuo commented that "President Chen has prostate hypertrophy and a sample was just taken from him for culturing bacteria. If he was then force-fed a large amount of water, it could lead to water congestion, causing hydronephrosis and prostate swelling; force-feeding him a large amount of water might cause his existing cerebral infarction condition to deteriorate rapidly. "
The Minister of Justice should have known about this consequence; however, he still ordered the force-feeding of water to verify if Chen indeed could not urinate. Such disregard for humanity is unthinkable! The warden of Taipei Prison is suspect of abusing the inmate and Minister of Justice Minister is also alleged to disregard human life. Both of them should be prosecuted in accordance with the criminal law for their criminal offenses to cause seriously injury and assault. Because they are civil servants to commit these crimes using the powers they are entrusted, they should be punished more severely.
2. Regarding the water force-feeding, ordered by Minister of Justice and carried out by the prison staffers, and the subsequent monitoring to check if President Chen could urinate.
The Ministry of Justice issued a statement to deny the force-feeding and monitoring offenses. Instead, they claimed that they were merely following Doctors’ recommendation to have him drink more water for helping him urinate. We don’t know if President Chen consented to drink the water. However, in UN Resolution #43173, titled “Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment”, Article 22 states that "Even with the consent from the person in custody, there shall be no medical or scientific experiments performed on the person to cause any harms” Moreover, Article 2 of Resolution #37194, titled “The moral principles of health care personnel, particularly Physicians, in the protection of prisoners and detainees against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and Article 7 of Resolution #3946, titled “Protection of all persons from being Subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment punishment”, state that "The medical staff, especially doctors, who passively or willingly, conspire to or attempt to commit torture or inhuman treatment against an inmate, are guilty of a criminal offense. " All these articles aim at protecting inmates from being deprived of their basic rights to life and health. Even if President Chen consented to drink the water, the act of drinking water itself has resulted in a great harm to his health. Therefore, Minister of Justice and the prison staffers are suspects of criminal offenses. Is their clarification statement credible? This case should be investigated fully without delay.
3. The government authorities should impartially conduct criminal and disciplinary investigations immediately.
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, signed by Taiwan’s government, state that "No one should be subjected to torture or inhuman treatment." In addition, in United Nations Resolution #3946, articles 9 and 10 state that “The government authority, when there are substantial grounds to believe that acts of torture has occurred even though no formal complaint being raised, should impartially conduct criminal and disciplinary investigations immediately." For this case, there are substantial grounds to call for such impartial investigations.
4. The Ministry of Justice should not abuse its authority in interpreting the applicability of Article 58 of the Penal Code:
This article states that "The parole decision for an inmate should abide by the conditions and procedures defined by the law. The prison authority and its superior should not make their own decision without following the conditions and procedures defined by the law." The Administrative Court of Taiwan pointed out that many complaints have been filed for the shortage of medical resources in the prison. If the Ministry of Justice and the prison authority arbitrarily impose restrictions on the legal conditions of medical parole for former President Chen and other inmates to result in injuries or deaths to them, these government officials should be prosecuted in accordance with the criminal law for their criminal offenses of assault as well as abusing, harming, and causing serious injuries to inmates.
Liberty Times, October 1st, 2012