06/09/2017, 12.15
CHINA
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Guangxi: Luo Jibiao, 50, dies from torture in jail

He had been arrested a month earlier for a brawl. The family took pictures of the lifeless body full of bruises and blood. Attempts to cover up with false autopsies. After the denunciation, the village of Luo is controlled by armed men and the family and lawyers lost their jobs.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Chrd) - Luo Jibiao, 50, an ethnic Zhuang minority, died in police custody. Luo’s family and lawyers have called for an investigation into the death of Luo, on May 26 at the Fengxian County Detention Center in Hezhou City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Police had detained Luo on suspicion of “brawling ” on May 4.

Luo’s family members, when they were initially allowed to view Luo’s body, saw numerous bruises and injuries on his head, neck, chest, arms and legs, and blood around his nose and mouth. They took photos and showed them to lawyer Wu Liangshu (吴良述), whom they had hired to represent Luo. The family alleges that Luo was tortured to death during police interrogation. Wu had met with Luo once in detention, in a meeting on May 8. At that meeting, Wu observed no visible injuries on Luo, who also did not report any mistreatment. After that meeting, his family received no information from authorities until the news of his sudden death on May 26.

After Luo’s family and lawyer demanded an investigation into Luo’s suspicious death, authorities removed Luo’s body to an unknown location and blocked the family and lawyers’ access by deploying dozens of armed riot police officers. Luo’s family fear that the Fengxian procuratorate have rushed the autopsy without notifying the family. The family released a statement on June 2 denouncing the government cover-up and suspected torture.

Police have since visited the lawyers’ firms to intimidate them. Dozens of armed SWAT police officers patrol the Zhuang ethnic minority village where Luo’s family live. Lawyer Chen Jiahong (陈家鸿) has been removed from handling the case. Lawyer Qin Chenshou (覃臣寿) and the law firm where he practices law, Guangxi Baijuming Law Firm, have been held up in the annual inspection for renewal of licenses by judicial authorities. One family member was detained on May 30 by armed officers, but is believed to have been released. Authorities have also blocked the social media accounts of Luo’s family members and lawyers.

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