May 6, 2017
An international group of lawyers and judges on May 2 called on Beijing to release human rights lawyer Xie Yang, who was detained during a nationwide crackdown on the legal profession beginning in July 2015, and whose trial at a court in the central province of Hunan was called off last month.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the Chinese government to release Xie, who has reported torture during his incarceration, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
“Xie Yang’s arrest and prosecution seem to be in connection with his performing legitimate professional functions as a human rights lawyer,” ICJ secretary-general Sam Zarifi said in a statement.
“Lawyers in China like Xie Yang are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China,” he said.
“The government should release Xie Yang immediately and conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation on the allegations that he has been subjected to torture,” he said.
The ICJ said Xie has been unable to communicate with his lawyers since he gave them his account of his torture at the hands of police, and is now represented by a government-appointed lawyer.
Bill of Indictment Against Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yang
May 2, 2017
The ICJ today called on the Chinese government to release immediately Xie Yang, a prominent human rights lawyer who was arrested during the crackdown on human rights defenders in July 2015. Authorities have now canceled his scheduled trial without giving a reason.
He was charged on 16 December 2016 with inciting subversion of State power and disrupting court order. He is detained at an undisclosed location.
“Xie Yang’s arrest and prosecution seem to be in connection with his performing legitimate professional functions as a human rights lawyer,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Secretary General.
“No lawyer should ever be subject to persecution for carrying out their professional duties. Lawyers in China like Xie Yang are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China,” he added.
Xie Yang had served as counsel of the family of Xu Chunhe, who was alleged to have been shot dead by police authorities in May 2015 in Heilongjiang Province.
He also acted as counsel for persons alleging religious persecution, alleged victims of unlawful land seizures, and outspoken critics of the government.
(Chr Lawyers Facebook)
April 12, 2017
Saman Zia-Zarifi is the new Secretary General of the ICJ. He replaces Wilder Tayler who retired in March, the Geneva-based organization announced today.
An Iranian-American lawyer, Zarifi joined the ICJ in 2012 as Regional Director for the Asia & Pacific Region based in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to joining the ICJ, he served as Amnesty International’s director for Asia and the Pacific from 2008 to 2012, and before that worked at Human Rights Watch from 2000.
“Wilder Tayler masterfully guided the ICJ for the past 10 years and expanded its reach across the world in perilous times,” said Prof Robert Goldman, the ICJ’s Acting President.
“The Commission is fully confident that Sam Zarifi will build on this legacy by bringing to the ICJ as a whole the energy and vision he deployed so successfully in the Asia Pacific region.”
The ICJ, founded in Berlin in 1952, is one of world’s oldest human rights organizations.
Composed of 60 accomplished jurists from all regions of the world, the ICJ has for 65 years devoted itself to promoting the observance of the rule of law and the legal protection of human rights.
The ICJ Secretary General leads the implementation of the Commission’s objectives through the ICJ’s International Secretariat.