Detention six lawyers shows climate of intimidation and abuse still growing
The recent detention of six lawyers in Qing’an county, Heilongjian Province, China, is a worrying indication that the climate of intimidation of human rights defenders and human rights lawyers in China is still growing. The detention seems to be related to the carrying out of their work in human rights cases or in exposing official abuses.
Frontline Defenders reports that when lawyers You Feizhu and Ma Wei recently travelled to Qing’an county to represent a number of illegally detained citizens, they were arrested. On 28 May, You Feizhu received a 15-day administrative sentence for ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’.
On 1 June, their colleagues Tang Tianhao (photo), Ma Lianshun, Ge Yongxi and Xu Zhong also travelled to Qing’an county, to represent them. The police refused to disclose their whereabouts, so the lawyers reported their colleagues missing. Later that day, they were all arrested. Three of them received a 15-day administrative sentence; lawyer Xu Zhong was released after 26 hours. The five lawyers who remained in detention were released from 3 June, onwards; Ge Yongxi was the last to be released on 6 June.
In relation to these events, a petition supported by 733 lawyers from throughout China was launched, calling upon the Standing Committee of the National People’s congress to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrests and detention of the six lawyers. Furthermore, the petition asked the Standing Committee to address the increase in abuses lawyers have been subjected to in the carrying out of their work. Lawyers for Lawyers underlines this call.
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