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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

CHINA

27 November 2009

Wang Yonghang  

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sentenced to 7 years imprisonment

for working as a defence lawyer for Falun Gong practitioners   

 

Source :Radio Network.  

 

 

 

On November 27, human rights lawyer Wang Yonghang was sentenced by  the Shahekou Magistrate Court in Dalian City to 7 years imprisonment. In mid October the court began Wang’s hearing which his family and lawyer’s were not informed of, at the hearing he pleaded not guilty. He has appealed.

Evidence on which the court’s decision was based included items such as articles published online by Wang. In mid October the court began Wang’s hearing which his family and lawyer’s were not informed of, at the hearing he pleaded not guilty.

Human rights lawyer Wang Yonghang worked as a defence lawyer for Falun Gong practitioners on numerous occasions. In 2008, he published an online open letter to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, outside of China, and conferred the groundless nature from a legal perspective of charges laid on practitioners of Falun Gong. For this reason he was placed under surveillance and monitored.

Wang Yonghang was detained on 4 July in his home city of Dalian, in the northern province of Liaoning. The police never allowed him any contact with his lawyers, on the grounds that his case involved "state secrets." He was tried behind closed doors at the Shahekou District People's Court, in Dalian City, around 14-16 October: the court announced the sentence on 27 November.

(See: http://www.idhae.org/uk-page4.1.asia.chin26.htm )

Police beat him while he was in custody awaiting trial, breaking his ankle. They told his wife on 27 July that he had a broken ankle, but did not take him to hospital until 11 August, by which time the fracture was seriously infected. His ankle was operated on but remained infected. According to his wife, who met with him briefly just before the sentencing hearing, for the first time since he had been detained, he could not walk properly.

Since Beijing lawyers Lan Zhixue and Zhang Chuanli began representing Wang in his case, they have been unable to meet with him. The lawyers were told by the National Security Bureau in Dalian the case involved confidential information, and they were thus forbidden from seeing him. The Yaojia Detention Centre in Dalian also refused the lawyers’  visit  through illegal means. On the day his sentence was pronounced his lawyers’ submitted procedural documents strongly requesting their presence in court. Only through this did Wang learn that his family had hired defence lawyers’ on his behalf.

Lan Zhixue said (recording) “I made a request as Wang’s lawyer to attend his defence? [The judge] said you can only observe. Only then did Wang know that he had defence lawyers’ , and asked about it. Obviously the court had not notified him and he was very surprised.”

The charges read out by the judge claimed that Wang published articles overseas, thereby he obstructed the implementation of law. According to his lawyers he pleaded not guilty and once the hearing began he signed the documents to hire his lawyers for appeal.

His lawyers only found out about his trial after it was finished, and they asked the court to allow them to meet with him.The court turned down their request, quoting a Dalian City regulation which requires lawyers taking up cases involving Falun Gong to provide written evidence that they have reported the case to the All China Lawyers' Association (ACLA) and that the ACLA endorses their meeting with their clients; and also an assignment letter from the law firm they work for. According to Wang Yonghang's lawyers, this Dalian City regulation violates Chinese laws, including Criminal Procedure Law, which allow defence lawyers to meet with criminal suspects in custody, as soon as the People's Procuratorate begins to examine their cases for prosecution.

His lawyer said on October 16, without notifying his family or lawyers’ Shahekou Magistrate Court in Dalian began Wang’s trail. When his wife, Yu Xiaoyan questioned the judge at the Magistrate Court, the judge asked why she would not know of the hearing, since police officers and personnel at her local station were present at the hearing. Yet when Yu inquired at the local station she was told by the officer, “Why would we tell you? you are not his wife, the National Security Brigade said you two were divorced.” Yu condemned these claims as intentional fabrications, and strongly requested for the rights to observe the hearing with her husbands elder sister and brother. On November 27, she finally saw her husband in court room, but for less than 20 minutes.

Yu said (recording) “[Wang Yonghang] has been severely injured. One leg is suffering muscular atrophy, and his health is poor, he is very weak. However his will is strong and his thoughts are very clear. I told him that the family was doing well and not to worry.”

In the period leading up to Wang’s trial his wife received threatening phone calls and her house was broken into she was followed and monitor during the day.  Yu’s family lived in fear of her safety, both her mother and mother in law fell ill. During Yu’s defence of her husband’s innocence, she was verbally threatened and blackmailed countless times.

TAKE ACTION NOW !

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Chinese or your own language:

- calling on the authorities to release Wang Yonghang immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience;

- urging them to ensure he has access to legal assistance of his choosing, his family and any medical attention he may require;

- urging the authorities to guarantee that Wang Yonghang will not be tortured or otherwise ill-treated;

- calling on them to end the use of vaguely-defined charges relating to "state secrets" to crack down on human rights defenders.

 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO:

Director of the Liaoning Provincial Department of Public Security

LI Wenxi Tingzhang

Liaoningsheng Gong'anting

2 Qishan Zhonglu

Huangguqu

Shenyangshi 110032

Liaoningsheng

People's Republic of China

Salutation: Dear Director

Director of the Liaoning Provincial Department of Justice

Zhang Jiacheng Tingzhang

Liaoningsheng Sifating

28 Jia Chongshan Donglu

Shenyangshi 110032

Liaoningsheng

People's Republic of China

Fax: +86 24 86906792

Salutation: Dear Director

 

And copies to:

Prime Minister

WEN Jiabao Guojia Zongli

The State Council General Office

2 Fuyoujie

Xichengqu

Beijingshi 100017

People's Republic of China

Fax: +86 10 65961109

Salutation: Your Excellency

 

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

 

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