Daily Archives: 24/09/2016

China: Rule by Law or Power? Lawyer’s Conviction Stirs Online Debate in China

September 23, 2016

FILE - Attorney Xia Lin, pictured on July 14, 2011, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Sept. 22, 2016, on fraud charges in what observers said was thought to be the harshest penalty rendered in years against those few willing to take on the ruling Communist Party.

A harsh 12-year sentence handed down Thursday by a Chinese court against prominent civil rights lawyer Xia Lin is stirring a heated debate online about the rule of law in China, and whether the case shows an abuse of legal procedure.

Xia, whose clients included dissident artist Ai Weiwei, was found guilty of defrauding several people out of at least 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) to pay off gambling debts. He is the latest of several rights activists, particularly defense lawyers, to be sentenced under the administration of President Xi Jinping, who has justified the crackdown on civil society as part of a broader campaign to boost security and stability.

Many netizens vented their frustration on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform, over what they consider fabricated charges by the Beijing court against Xia. “The disgusting ruling lays bare the true meaning of so called ‘rule of law,’” wrote a Wei user who posted under the name What Happens to the Society, while another user commented, “guilty or not, the authorities have the final say, nothing to do with law.”

Rule of law?

Under one Weibo posting, at least ten users responded with the same comment, “he who sets his mind to beat his dog will easily find his stick,” to satirize the country’s police state apparatus.


Activists Speak Out on Xi’s Rights Crackdown




Ai Weiwei: China’s Judicial System “Unfair by Nature”

http://www.voachinese.com/a/news-rights-attorney-xia-lin-sentenced-heavily-20160922/3520440.html (CHINESE)

http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/expositions/retrospective-ai-weiwei-a-florence-le-palazzo-strozzi-tapisse-de-canots-246321 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.chinasquare.be/actueel-nieuws/xia-lin-veroordeeld-voor-fraude-of-voor-verdediging-van-dissidenten/ (FLEMISH)

http://oglobo.globo.com/mundo/advogado-de-ativista-chines-ai-weiwei-condenado-12-anos-de-prisao-20157329 (PORTUGUESE)

http://www.china-files.com/it/link/48861/dodici-anni-di-carcere-per-lavvocato-di-ai-weiwei (ITALIANO)


Guatemala: Guatemalan rights prosecutor arrested over alleged hit-and-run

September 23, 2016

Orlando Lopez

Orlando López has investigated some of the worst crimes committed during Guatemala’s bloody civil war and arrested powerful former military commanders for torture, genocide and forced disappearances.

But the efforts of the senior human rights prosecutor have not gone unnoticed by rightwing groups who claim he is spearheading a leftist conspiracy against the armed forces.

Now, López, 41, has been detained on homicide charges linked to an alleged hit-and-run incident, which his supporters say is part of a wave of malicious litigation against advocates seeking justice over civil war crimes.

The alleged traffic incident was reported by the Foundation against Terrorism, a rightwing group linked to retired military generals, which in recent years has accused dozens of senior judges, prosecutors and human rights activists of crimes including corruption, intimidation and links to organised crime.

“I know that I am here because of the work I have done. It has nothing to do with the traffic incident, this is just an excuse to target me,” López told the Guardian, while waiting handcuffed in Guatemala City criminal court.

López was lead prosecutor in the 2013 genocide trial against the former military dictator Efrain Rios Montt, and in the arrest earlier this year of 18 former army generals for multiple forced disappearances.