Prison hospital capable of jailing ex-first lady: official


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Pei Teh Hospital of the Taichung Prison said yesterday that it is capable of jailing the wheelchair-bound former first lady Wu Shu-jen if it is instructed to do so.

Lin Chih-hsiung, chief secretary of the Taichung Prison, said that in cooperation with the China Medical University Hospital, Pei Teh can jail seriously ill convicts, including amputees.

Lin’s comment came on the heels of questions asked by Chen Hsing-yu, Wu’ daughter, that the Pei Teh may not be an ideal place for Wu to serve her sentence, given the fact that Wu has been paralyzed from the waist down for over 20 years.

The Pei Teh can offer the same level of medical services as any other top-notch hospital, according to Lin.

The Taichung Prison hospital was selected by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office as the facility in which Wu will serve her time if prosecutors decide to carry out the sentence.

Wu and her husband, former President Chen Shui-bian, were each sentenced to a total of 19 years in jail last month by the Supreme Court for taking bribes while Chen was president.

Chen and Wu were found guilty of having taken bribes in two separate cases, one involving a land acquisition deal and the other involving the appointment of the Taipei 101 chairwoman.

Chen, who had been held at a detention center since late 2008, was moved to Taipei Prison in Taoyuan County Dec. 2 to serve his time. Prison authorities are now considering how Wu should be jailed, given her condition.

Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu said that whether the former first lady will serve her time in the Pei Teh Hospital will depend on a medical assessment of her condition.

Lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have called on the government to be lenient toward Wu by either allowing her to remain confined under house arrest or releasing her on medical bail.