04/17/2008, 00.00
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Beijing denies Hu Jia right to appeal

Judicial authorities have obstructed lawyers attempts to visit the activist, condemned to three and a half years in prison for subversion. Technically ten days after sentencing the right to appeal empire.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s judicial authorities have blocked a legal appeal by Hu Jia, the well known dissident and human rights activist, who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on April 3rd last for having “incitement to subvert state power”. His lawyer, Li Fangping, has spoken out: “According to law, an appeal must be presented 10 days after the sentence.  But we have not been permitted to visit Hu”.

Li said he and other defence lawyers were repeatedly prevented from visiting Hu at the Beijing No. 1 Municipal Detention Centre, where their client is being held.  And yet “the guards would not allow us into the prison.  It doesn't matter what the situation is, regulations definitely must be followed and the rights of lawyers must be protected, such as allowing Hu Jia to meet with his defence lawyers”.

A prison official, who doesn’t want to be named, confirmed said Hu could not meet with lawyers because he had been sent for a physical examination required before prisoners are formally transferred to prison, adding “it is now too late for an appeal”.

34 year old Hu, is well known throughout China for his campaigning in favour of AIDS sufferers and for his battle to stop the spreading of the HIV virus.  He has consistently fought for the democratic development of China, for total religious freedom and for a revision of policies regarding Tibet, which “should be free to decide its own future”.

He was arrested in December in his home in Beijing by a group of anti-riot police. His wife, Zeng Jinan, is being kept under house arrest together with her daughter of a few months. The couple’s friends have launched an appeal against the child’s detention, which risks provoking malformation in the child because of nutritional problems.


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