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Medical parole granted for Taiwan ex-President Chen Shui-bian, who was jailed for corruption

  • FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2012 file photo, Taiwan's jailed former president Chen Shui-bian stands next to his wife Wu Shu-chen, bottom right, as he attends mourning rites for his mother-in-law in Tainan, southern Taiwan after authorities allowed him to briefly leave prison. Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian has been granted a one-month medical parole for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption, the Justice Ministry announced Monday, June 5, 2015.  (AP Photo/Johnson Liu, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2012 file photo, Taiwan's jailed former president Chen Shui-bian stands next to his wife Wu Shu-chen, bottom right, as he attends mourning rites for his mother-in-law in Tainan, southern Taiwan after authorities allowed him to briefly leave prison. Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian has been granted a one-month medical parole for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption, the Justice Ministry announced Monday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Johnson Liu, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian waves to supporters as he is wheeled in a chair from the Taichung prison by his son Chen Chih-chung Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 in Taichung, Taiwan. Chen was granted a one-month medical parole Monday for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four  years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption. But he must return to prison to serve the remainder if his condition improves. (AP Photo)

    Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian waves to supporters as he is wheeled in a chair from the Taichung prison by his son Chen Chih-chung Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 in Taichung, Taiwan. Chen was granted a one-month medical parole Monday for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption. But he must return to prison to serve the remainder if his condition improves. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian waves to supporters as he is wheeled in a chair from the Taichung prison by his son Chen Chih-chung Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 in Taichung, Taiwan. Chen was granted a one-month medical parole Monday for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption. But he must return to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence if his condition improves. (AP Photo)

    Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian waves to supporters as he is wheeled in a chair from the Taichung prison by his son Chen Chih-chung Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 in Taichung, Taiwan. Chen was granted a one-month medical parole Monday for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption. But he must return to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence if his condition improves. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian has been granted a one-month medical parole for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption, the Justice Ministry announced Monday.

Chen, 64, whose election in 2000 ended a 50-year monopoly on power by the island's Nationalists, or Kuomintang, and who moved to expand Taiwan's de-facto independence from mainland China, went on trial shortly after the end of his 2000-2008 tenure.

He was convicted in September 2009 of taking more than $12 million in embezzlement and bribe-taking in what he denounced as a persecution driven by his political opponents.

He has reportedly suffered from depression, sleep apnea, heart ailments and neural degeneration while behind bars, and authorities say he attempted suicide. The one-month medical parole was granted for treatment of his neural degeneration, which was worsening despite efforts at treatment while he was incarcerated, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

"It is believed that only on medical parole can his life and health be ensured, and the degeneration be prevented from worsening," the ministry said.