05/15/2012, 00.00
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Chen Guangcheng's nephew arrested on murder charges

He defended himself against agents who burst into his house after his uncle escaped. The charges are baseless because no one died. For this reason, the authorities are preventing lawyers from seeing him.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chen Kegui, nephew of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng, was arbitrarily arrested by police in Shandong. He has been denied access to his family lawyer and his wife has been placed under house arrest. The nephew was taken into custody on 9 May for his role in Chen's escape on 26 April to the US Embassy in Beijing, the China Human Rights Defender (CHRD) reported. The latter monitors human rights in China.

Chen Kegui is accused of "intentional homicide" because during the dissident's escape, he used a knife in self-defence against agents and unidentified people who burst into his uncle's home, slightly wounding some of the attackers. Why he was charged with homicide is unclear since no one died.

Chen Kegui's mother, Ren Zongju, was released on bail after being briefly detained.

Chen's lawyers have not been allowed to meet their client, who could get the death penalty.

Liu Weiguo, the lawyer authorised by Chen Guangcheng's wife, was warned not to go to Linyi to help Chen Kegui. Another lawyer, Chen Wuquan, had his licence to practice taken away. Song Ze, a volunteer with a legal association, disappeared.

After an incredible escape from his home, the blind dissident, famous for his opposition to forced abortions and land grabs, found refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing.

After officials convinced him to leave the compound, he was taken to a hospital in the Chinese capital where he is under constant watch.

Meanwhile, the authorities launched a campaign against his family and friends.


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