Taiwan's ex-president transferred to regular jail
Chen Shui Bian is expected to serve his 19-year sentence for graft there. -AFP
TUCHENG, Taiwan - Taiwan's former leader Chen Shui-bian on Thursday was moved from a detention centre on the outskirts of Taipei to the jail where he is expected to serve his 19-year sentence for graft.
Television showed a van carrying 60-year-old Chen arriving at Kuishan Prison in the north of island, escorted by numerous police officers in patrol cars and on motorbikes.
Reports have indicated that Chen will will be allowed fewer visitors than at the detention centre, while he may also have to share a cell with another inmate.
Shortly before the transfer, Chen had an emotional meeting with his son Chen Chih-chung at the Tucheng Detention Centre while dozens of supporters were gathering outside, protesting his innocence.
"A-Bian isn't guilty!" the crowd chanted, affectionately referring to Chen Shui-bian by his nickname.
Some also held up placards claiming that Taiwan is an independent country, in support of Chen's lifelong political project, the creation of an island republic formally separate from China.
"He was very much worried about the health of my mother," Chen's son said after emerging from the meeting with his father.
"He also asked me continue to fight for the goal of 'one country on each side' (of the Taiwan Straits)."
Chen Shui-bian's wheelchair-bound wife, Wu Shu-chen, has also been sentenced to 19 years in jail for corruption, but it remains unclear if she will actually serve the sentence, given her frail health.
Chen Chih-chung himself is embarking on a political career after he was elected at the weekend to the city council in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second-largest city and a bastion of anti-China feelings.
The Supreme Court last month sentenced Chen and his wife to 19 years in prison on two bribery charges in the first final verdict of a string of corruption cases implicating them.
Chen, who has been detained since late 2008, says his prosecution is a vendetta carried out by the island's current administration in retaliation for his pro-independence stance during his 2000-2008 term.
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