Ex-vice president to continue hunger strike


TAIPEI — Former Vice President Annette Lu vowed Wednesday to continue her hunger strike after learning that former President Chen Shui-bian would not be released from Taichung Prison on medical parole that day, as had been expected.

The delay in handling Chen’s case was caused by heavy holiday traffic, which stopped the documents from Taichung, in central Taiwan, from reaching the Ministry of Justice’s Agency of Corrections in Taipei, northern Taiwan.

Vice Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (no relations) said the documents left the central Taiwan prison, where Chen is serving a 20-year sentence for corruption, at between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. but did not arrive at the Agency of Corrections until 5:56 p.m.

Without the data to screen the ailing ex-president’s request for medical parole, the vice minister said an ad hoc team could not make a decision on the case Wednesday. The team will handle the case at 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 5, the first day of work following the four-day long weekend.

Lu, who began fasting Dec. 28 in protest against the government’s continued imprisonment of her former boss, accused the Agency of Corrections of disregarding human life through its reluctance to spend more time taking care of the procedures for releasing Chen Shui-bian. Lu told reporters from Taichung, where she had gone expecting to greet the former president, that she will continue her hunger strike from Taipei until she collapses.