China court confirms prison sentence to human rights lawyer

Beijing, Dec 28 (efe-epa)- A court in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu has confirmed a 4-year prison sentence to well-known human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng for inciting subversion against state power, his wife Xu Yan informed EFE on Monday.

According to Xu, the defense attorneys she hired to appeal the sentence, Lin Qilei and Lu Siwei, received the verdict on Saturday, after which they proceeded to notify her.

However, Xu underlined that the document confirming the sentence received on her mobile phone – which includes three years of loss of political rights and which will expire on Mar. 1, 2022 – is dated December 13.

Xu feared that her husband has accepted the sentence and has been transferred from the detention center where he was lodged to a prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.

After the sentence was first announced by the courts in in June, the police threatened Yu with severe action against his wife and son if the lawyer did not admit guilt and accept the sentence, according to his lawyers.

“It is very likely that Yu Wensheng has been sent to prison. But which one? Neither the lawyers nor I know. I called Judge Chen Jincao of Jiangsu High People’s Court and Xuzhou Detention Center, where Yu had previously been detained, but they have stopped answering my calls,” the lawyer’s wife said.

“They have not protected the legal rights of the parties or defense attorneys,” Xu said, adding they have “not given written answers, have not allowed a copy of the document to be obtained, and have not included statements by defense attorneys” in the appeal process.

According to Xu, all of this shows that normal legal procedures were not carried out and the law was violated.

“My son and I haven’t seen Yu Wensheng for about 1,075 days. We want to see him,” said Xu, promising to continue fighting for her husband, despite being aware that after the recent confirmation of the sentence, “the probability of success is zero.”

Renowned lawyer Yu Wensheng, regarded by human rights organization Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience” who has been detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, was arrested on Jan. 19, 2018. Since then he has remained under arrest.

Yu, who called for a change in the Chinese Constitution and complained about pollution in Beijing, among other things, was tried in secret and sentenced to four years in prison on Jun. 17.

Yu also served as a lawyer for his colleagues detained during the so-called “709 Crackdown” – named after its date: ninth day of the seventh month of 2015 -, in which at least 321 lawyers, staff of law firms, activists and their relatives were arrested. EFE-EPA


Related Articles

Back to top button