Prison lets Chen Shui-bian go to funeral

Updated: 2012-01-07 08:17

(China Daily)

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TAIPEI - Chen Shui-bian, a former leader of Taiwan who is currently serving a prison sentence for graft, attended the funeral of his mother-in-law on Friday after being granted special leave from prison for about eight hours.

Prison lets Chen Shui-bian go to funeral

Chen Shui-bian, the jailed former leader of Taiwan, crawls to the funeral house of his late mother-in-law in Tainan, Taiwan, on Friday. [Photo/Agencies]

Chen arrived on Friday morning at a funeral home in the city of Tainan to pay his respects to Wu Wang-hsia, who died on Dec 31 at the age of 85. Friday, the seventh day after her death, was the traditional family-mourning day.

Chen was not shackled or handcuffed, as was authorized by the island's legal department due to his former leadership position. But he was escorted by prison officers and local police.

At the funeral, Chen went down on his knees, performed traditional rites and gave a eulogy. Chen also saw his wife Wu Shu-chen, his mother, and his son and daughter at the mourning ceremony.

He was escorted back to the Taipei Prison after staying in Tainan for two hours.

Chen and his wife were each sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for corruption and money laundering during Chen's tenure as the leader of Taiwan from 2000 to 2008. He began serving his sentence in December 2010. It is the first time that a former leader of Taiwan has been jailed.

Wu, who uses a wheelchair and is in poor health, was also fined NT$154 million ($5 million), but her prison sentence was temporarily suspended by prosecutors, as a prison hospital said she was physically unfit to serve time in prison and refused to admit her in February.