TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan’s ailing ex-president Chen Shui-bian was granted medical parole Monday after serving six years of a 20-year sentence for graft, as political leaders called for reconciliation on the deeply divided island.
The 64-year-old, who led Taiwan from 2000 to 2008, will be released from a prison hospital Monday afternoon due to his “medical condition”, said deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang.
But he will initially only be given one month’s parole, with his freedom depending on his state of health. He will then be subject to monthly medical check-ups.
The former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, who ended 50 years of Kuomintang party rule when he came to power, was sentenced to life in prison in 2009 for money-laundering and bribery during his term in office – reduced to 20 years after appeals.
Chen was transferred to a prison hospital in April last year after being diagnosed with severe depression, suspected Parkinson’s disease and other conditions.
He attempted suicide in June, trying to hang himself with a towel in a bathroom of the prison hospital.
“The (independent) medical team think Chen needs to leave his present location where his medical treatment is not helpful to his condition,” said deputy minister Chen after a parole board meeting Monday morning.
“So a decision has now been made to parole him for a month.”
His freedom after that would depend on his medical condition, Chen added.