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Ex-president's request to attend Universiade opening denied

2017/08/18 19:48:30

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) Taichung Prison has denied former President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) request to attend the opening ceremony of the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei on Saturday, citing security concerns.

In a statement issued on Friday, the prison said the event concerned required Chen, who is on medical parole at his home in the southern city of Kaohsiung, to make a long trip to Taipei in the north.

"Maintaining security will be relatively complicated" during the opening ceremony, the statement said, and therefore Chen's application for permission to attend the international event could not be approved.

Taichung Prison Deputy Warden Lin Shun-pin (林順斌) explained that the opening and closing ceremonies of the Universiade are both non-political public events, meeting the criteria of the type of event that the former president can attend under the terms of his parole.

But he would have to travel a long way, and large numbers of people will attend the ceremonies, making it difficult to safeguard Chen's safety, Lin said, adding that the Universiade was not a necessary activity for the former president's medical well-being.

Chen filed an application on Aug. 9 with prison authorities to allow him to attend the event after receiving an invitation from the Taipei City government.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said in May he would invite incumbent and former presidents of the country, including Chen, to attend the Taipei Universiade's opening.

Chen was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 20 years in prison shortly after the second term of his presidency ended in 2008.

He served his sentence at Taichung Prison until January 2015, when he was released on medical parole due to various ailments and has since lived in Kaohsiung.

(By Su Mu-chun and Elizabeth Hsu)