Taipei: Taiwan`s jailed ex-leader Chen Shui-bian will be allowed to attend his mother-in-law`s
funeral next week, but will be handcuffed or chained and barred from speaking to the media, officials said today.
The funeral is scheduled for January 10, a sensitive
time just four days ahead of presidential elections,
triggering speculation that his appearance could move votes,
according to local media.
"If an inmate applies for permission to attend a close
relative`s funeral, permission is granted for humanitarian
reasons," said Su Kun-ming, a spokesman for Taipei Prison,
where Chen is serving a term of 17 years and six months.
"However, the prisoner must be escorted by prison
wardens and be handcuffed or chained. Also, he is not allowed
to talk to reporters."
Chen, who was president from 2000 to 2008, has already
decided to ask to attend the funeral of his 85-year-old
mother-in-law Wu Wang-hsia, who died Saturday, Chen`s son Chen
Chih-chung told reporters earlier today.
The funeral will take place in the southern city of
Tainan, a stronghold of the anti-China opposition Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP), which Chen once led.
The Apple Daily and other local media speculated
Monday that Chen, who still commands some support among DPP
members in the south of the island, could sway some voters
simply by emerging in public.
DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen is challenging the
incumbent Ma Ying-jeou in the January 14 vote, aiming to become Taiwan`s first female president.