“This is political persecution pure and simple," his lawyer says. “From a legal point of view, the charges against pastor Yang just don't stand up. How could he have revealed any state secrets?” a fellow pastor asks. " I think Yang Hua is innocent, and yet they have locked him up for such a long time."
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Authorities in Guizhou have sentenced Rev Yang Hua, a pastor at a Protestant house church, to two-and-a-half years in jail on spying charges, his defence attorney Chen said.
Yang’s defence team have accused local prosecutors of torturing Yang in prison. "Even a day in jail is too much for an innocent person," Mr Chen told Radio Free Asia.
"I have only one thing to say about this. This isn't a judgement: it's persecution. This is a political case that has nothing to do with the law or the truth," Chen added. "This is political persecution pure and simple."
llow Huoshi pastor Su Tianfu said the sentence was outrageous and disproportionate. "I think Yang Hua is innocent, and yet they have locked him up for such a long time," Su explained.
"From a legal point of view, the charges against pastor Yang just don't stand up," he added. "How could he have revealed any state secrets?"
"This is nothing but purely barbaric religious persecution," said Bob Fu, founder of the US-based Christian rights group ChinaAid, on the group's website.
"We urge President Obama and president-elect Trump to unequivocally condemn this brutal act," he added.
China is home to an estimated 68 million Protestants, including 23 million who belong to state-affiliated churches.