11/26/2015, 00.00
CHINA
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Supreme Court reduces prison term against journalist Gao Yu

Known for her sharp criticism of the communist regime, the reporter was arrested in April 2014 and sentenced to seven years in prison. After appeal, the judges reduce term by two years for "health reasons". Given her age, she may be moved to house arrest.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Supreme People's Court of Beijing has reduced the sentence imposed against Gao Yu, known dissident journalist by two-years. The judges decided the reduction (from seven to five years) after the appeal filed by the woman, 71, "for humanitarian reasons related to her conditions". Gao has already spent several years in prison, suffers from Meniere's syndrome and other heart problems.

Mo Shaoping, one of her lawyers, told the South China Morning Post: "Considering the fact that she is old and sick, there is also the possibility that this sentence will be granted outside of jail." In the country there are no detention alternative facilities, so he is referring to the possibility that she be placed under house arrest.

Gao, famous for her sharp criticism of the Chinese political system and its leaders, was jailed for the third time in April 2015.

She was arrested in April 2014 for publishing an internal circular of the Chinese Communist Party online on the website US Mingjing Monthly. Forced to "confess" her sins in front of the state television on the eve of the trial the reporter later revealed that behind the confession there was an attempt to protect her son and family, who had been the target of threats.

The charges against her are centered on  "Document No. 9", a text written by the Communist Party that orders its members and the police to curb the "seven subversive influences" in society, including the demands of constitutional democracy , branded as "Western" and "universal values" such as freedom of speech and respect for human rights.

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