Judicial harassment /
July 17, 2020
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) about the arbitrary detention and indictment on the charge of “subversion of State power” of Messrs. Liu Dazhi and Wu Gejianxiong, members of the NGO Changsha Funeng, and Mr. Cheng Yuan, co-founder and Head of the organisation. Founded in 2016, Changsha Funeng advocates for the right to health of marginalized and discriminated groups through litigation.
According to the information received, on July 10, 2020, Mr. Cheng Yuan’s wife was orally informed by Changsha Procuratorate’s office that Messrs. Liu Dazhi, Wu Gejianxiong, and Cheng Yuan had been indicted on June 24, 2020, and that their case had been transferred to the Changsha Intermediate Court. The three men face a sentence of life imprisonment in case of conviction.
Messrs. Liu Dazhi, Wu Gejianxiong and Cheng Yuan are held at the Changsha City Kaifu District Detention Center, Hunan Province. They have been denied access to, and communication with, their lawyers and families since their arrest by Hunan Province police on July 22, 2019. On August 26, 2019, Mr. Cheng Yuan’s lawyer was informed that the three men had been formally arrested on the charge of “subversion of State power” under Article 105(1) of China’s Criminal Law.
On March 16, 2020, the six lawyers of the defenders were informed by the Changsha Judicial Bureau that they had been dismissed at the request of the three men and that new lawyers would be appointed by the government. Nonetheless, it is strongly feared that the three men had been coerced to dismiss their lawyers or that the decision was taken unilaterally by the government. Furthermore, the families of the defenders have not been contacted by the new lawyers, whose identity has not been disclosed by the authorities.
The Observatory was also informed that family members of Mr. Cheng Yuan have been harassed and threatened by the police in order to prevent them from publicly advocating for their release.
The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Messrs. Liu Dazhi, Wu Gejianxiong, and Cheng Yuan, which seem to be merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. The Observatory urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally them and to ensure their physical integrity and psychological well-being.
Please write to the Chinese authorities to urge them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Messrs. Liu Dazhi, Wu Gejianxiong, and Cheng Yuan, their families, as well as that of all human rights defenders in China;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Liu Dazhi, Wu Gejianxiong, and Cheng Yuan, as their detention is arbitrary since it seems only aimed at punishing them for their human rights activities;
iii. Guarantee their access to their family members and to lawyers of their own or their family’s choosing;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Messrs. Liu Dazhi, Wu Gejianxiong, and Cheng Yuan and all other human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance and fear of reprisals, as well as against their family members;
v. Comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1 and 12.2;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by China.
· Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Email: email@example.com
· Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: email@example.com
· H.E. Mr. QU XING, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of China in your respective countries.
Geneva-Paris, July 17, 2020
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
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