The Human Rights Action Center sponsored a visit by two scholars well-versed in human rights standards and prison standards to investigate the conditions of detention of former President of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, after four years of incarceration. Hans Wahl and Harreld Dinkins concluded that the lack of access to independent medical care for the former president was jeopardizing his health by needlessly exacerbating conditions and by contributing to the emergence of new medical problems. Mr. Chen was and is in dire need of good and independent medical care to try to mitigate or reverse these conditions, some of which may now be permanent and others of which carry the potential to be fatal if Mr. Chen is returned to his previous state of neglect.
Chen Shui-bian should not be allowed to be killed in custody due to medical neglect. If the intent of the government of Taiwan to send Mr. Chen back to jail in very near future is true, it would be repeating a mistake. The care he needs is not possible in jail in particular if it would be provided by the same government that abused him in the first four years of his sentence in jail. Our belief is that Mr. Chen should be sent home to recover or to die in peace. If Mr. Chen is returned to prison, HRAC feels that such a procedure would be the same as a death sentence. Even in his current hospital setting in Taipei Veteran General Hospital, he is still subjected to surveillance and daily threat from the prison warden to return to the jail. Please leave him in peace to recover.
We call on the KMT government to meet the international protocols for human rights and prisoner treatment. We further call on the KMT government to reconsider sending Mr. Chen back to prison under any circumstances in order to avoid a repeat and increase of these conditions to begin with.
A death in prison of this prisoner would undermine the unity of Taiwan. Our answer is not to take that risk. Send him home. Unify the nation around someone who served the nation as its President for eight years. Repeat what President Ford did for the wrongs of President Nixon. Grant an amnesty, a release to go home and be as well as possible for the good of the nation.
Please contact us with any further questions about our statements and findings. We're happy to respond to all media and political inquiries. An increasing number of members of the US Congress are expressing concern about this treatment of Mr. Chen.
Director and Founder, Human Rights Action Center, Washington DC, US
Hans Wahl, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hans Dinkins, email@example.com
Nov. 15, 2012