05/03/2017, 14.08
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International lawyers for the release of Xie Yang, detained in Beijing

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) issues statement. Sam Zarifi: "Lawyers are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China." During the detention, serious torture and ill-treatment occurred. Chen Guiqiu, the lawyer’s wife, “They promised his release by April." The promise of release tied to the recording of a "video-confession".

Beijing (AsiaNews / RFA) - An international group of lawyers and judges is calling on Beijing to release human rights lawyer Xie Yang, detained in July 2015 following a series of mass arrests by the Chinese authorities. The tribunal of the city of Changsha, in the central province of Hunan, on April 25, postponed the Protestant Christian lawyer’s trial without reason.

Xie had worked in numerous cases considered politically sensitive by the Communist Party. Like other lawyers pursued by the authorities, in the past he has provided legal assistance to dissidents. Among his clients were many Chinese activists who supported Hong Kong's democracy and Christians engaged in the defense of religious freedom.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has issued a statement on its website, launching an appeal to the Chinese government for Xie’s release.  He has suffered serious torture and ill-treatment during detention. "Xie Yang’s arrest and prosecution seem to be in connection with his performing legitimate professional functions as a human rights lawyer," ICJ secretary general Sam Zarifi said in a statement on the group's website.

"No lawyer should ever be subject to persecution for carrying out their professional duties," Zarifi said. "Lawyers in China like Xie Yang are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China. The government should release Xie Yang immediately and conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation on the allegations that he has been subjected to torture," he said.

The ICJ revealed that Xie was no longer able to communicate with his lawyers from the moment he told them of police torture and is now represented by a government-appointed lawyer. In accordance with international human rights law, the association's statement states that the detainee must be released as soon as possible  in the absence of a recognizable offense.

Chen Guiqiu, Xie's wife, who is now in the United States, said the government's lawyer is colluding with the police and cannot provide an adequate defense for her husband. The woman also accused the authorities of breaking their promise for his release. "They told me he would be released around the end of April and that with all probability there would be some restrictions on his freedom for a few days. The conditions for the deal were that we should have stopped speaking out".

Sources close to the authorities have revealed that the promise of release is in fact linked to the recording of a "video-confession" by Xie. The offer, according to sources, would be filed shortly after the publication of charges of torture against Beijing.

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