08/30/2012, 00.00
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Beijing,Supreme Court seeks to silence defense lawyers

Supreme court judges rule on new Criminal Code, which enters into force in 2013, triggering protests from legal associations: according to the Court, the ordinary courts "may suspend lawyers for up to one year" in cases of unspecified "violations ". The new struggle for democracy in China goes through the courts, and the Party intends to curb it.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Supreme People's Court of China has proposed that the ordinary courts can "ban the lawyers' at will for up to a year for" unspecified violations. The proposal, which is part of a controversial interpretation of the new Code of Criminal Procedure, is aimed to prevent the defense of dissidents and human rights activists.

The interpretation has sparked protests from lawyers across the country. According to an article in the national media, it "gives authority to the judges that they have never had" in the old Code, which will be replaced in January of 2013, the courts could not intervene on lawyers.

According to the new text, the courts can now remove the courtroom lawyers who "violate court orders," but it will be the offices of the various prosecutors who may decide that the suspension. The government presented the text to the Supreme Court, which ruled instead these much harsher new penalties.

The protests also affect the procedure by which the interpretation has been prepared: the supreme court judges in fact sent only the text to local courts requesting a "comment", but did not make it public.

It was discovered on the internet by some bloggers, which were able to "intercept" it and have circulated it. Shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court ruled that defense lawyers can not use electronic devices of any kind in the courtroom, especially those with an internet connection

This move underlines the nervousness of the authorities towards the "new face" of dissidence, which is increasingly relying on the support of several legal associations that criticize the abuses of the regime in courtrooms. The Chinese Constitution and various international treaties are in fact (on paper) very democratic: the problem is their implementation, this new generation of lawyers is trying to claim them from the regime.


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