Joint petition letter on Yu Wensheng
In a petition letter adressed to the Chinese authorities, lawyers’ organisations and legal professionals from all over the world, including Lawyers for Lawyers, express concern about Yu Wensheng’s scheduled transfer to prison in Jiangsu and his health condition.
Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was arrested on 19 January 2018 for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power”. He was transfered to the Xuzhou Detention Centre. He went through a secret trial back in May 2019 and neither his family nor his defence lawyers had been informed in advance of any hearing, and were only notified of the outcome afterwards. Yu Wensheng was sentenced to 4-year imprisonment on 17 June 2020. Before this trial, Yu had been detained for more than 500 days. Mr. Yu’s appeal was heard on 13 December 2020, with the original verdict upheld. This means Mr. Yu will be transferred to the prison in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province shortly.
We understand that the Xuzhou Detention Centre, where Mr. Yu is held, is over 800 km from the city of his residence, Beijing, where his wife Xu Yan and son live. The trip from home in Beijing to the Xuzhou prison requires travelling long hours both by train and by car. It takes two days per visit for the family. We understand that the family does not have relatives or friends in Xuzhou, and it will be difficult for Ms. Yu to have obtain any familial or social support in the city.
We also understand that Ms. Xu does not have a job. The family has been living on its saving since Mr. Yu’s detention. The expenses incurred in visiting Yu in long distance is increasingly a burden on the mother and son. It also occurs that in where the company of lawyer is required for the completion of legal procedures, the costs will mount. Ms. Xu has also been suffering physical and psychological distress as Yu’s case proceeded over the past 3 years.
We are also concerned about the health condition of Mr. Yu. It has been reported that he suffers general toothache with a molar tooth fallen off, causing difficulty in chewing, and eating. His right-hand trembles uncontrollably due to injury, reportedly induced during his detention in Xuzhou pending for trial. He reports constant pain in his spinal cord and lower back resulting from mandatory pro-longed hours of sitting on the floor in fixed posture with legs crossed during the detention.
In the petition letter, we request Mr. Yu’s transfer to Beijing for the rest of his imprisonment term.
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