December 21, 2016
Authorities in the central Chinese province of Hunan are preparing to try a top lawyer on subversion and public order charges, amid an ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists nationwide.
The case of Xie Yang has now been transferred from the state prosecutor’s office to the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court in the provincial capital Changsha, paving the way for his trial for “incitement to disrupt public order and subvert state power,” his wife told RFA on Wednesday.
“Neither I nor the lawyer had any verbal or written notification from them,” Xie’s wife Chen Guiqiu said. “It wasn’t until I called the Changsha prosecutor’s case management department myself to ask whether the case had gone to the court that they told me it had.”
“It was sent to the court on Dec. 16,” she said.
Xie was detained in a nationwide police operation targeting more than 300 rights lawyers, law firm staff and activists that began with the detention of lawyers at the Beijing Fengrui law firm on July 9, 2015.
Chen tried to hire lawyer Lin Qilei to defend Xie, but the authorities refused to acknowledge his status as Xie’s lawyer.
Lin said Xie had been illegally kidnapped, subjected to enforced disappearance and tortured while in detention, and that the authorities have failed to follow due process throughout his case.
More than 300 lawyers, law firm staff, rights activists and relatives were detained, questioned, or placed under surveillance or other restrictions since the crackdown began.
At least 16 remain in criminal detention on subversion charges, while four have been handed jail terms of up to seven years, according to the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.
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