05/11/2020, 13.15
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Wang Quanzhang challenges the court ruling that led to his imprisonment

The human rights lawyer is appealing against his four-year conviction for state subversion. For Wang, the court violated the criminal procedure law. He finished serving his sentence on 5 April. According to his lawyer, Wang was tortured in prison. He has little chance of getting justice.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang plans to appeal his sentence of more than four years in prison for state subversion.

On 5 April, he finished serving his sentence in a Shandong prison, but was only able to join his family in Beijing on 27 April, after two weeks of quarantine for the coronavirus and a further seven-day detention.

Wang was arrested in 2015 in a crackdown dubbed 709 (because it began on 9 July 2015), against 300 lawyers, some of whom are Protestant and Catholic.

Many of those of arrested were tried and convicted. Several made a videotaped confession; others came out of prison physically and psychologically broken after being tortured.

Wang has always claimed his innocence, and never talked about the treatment he received in prison.

His lawyer, Cheng Hai, said that his client was subjected to torture in the first five months of detention. This included round the clock interrogations in rooms without sunlight, beatings, forced to stay in the same position without moving, starvation, cold water poured down his neck.

Wang's challenge is to the regime since China’s courts are not independent of the Communist Party. He contends that authorities violated the criminal procedure law, jailing him for more than three years without trial and denying him legal counsel during the court hearings.

Wang was convicted on two counts, for his legal work on behalf of practitioners of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement. However, he had already held in administrative detention for these offences in 2013 and 2014.

According to Cheng, Wang had not committed any crime and in any case could not be punished twice for the same crime.

“For years, we strived to reduce the likelihood of our clients being wrongfully convicted. What set me apart from other lawyers is how I could effectively deter unjust cases from moving ahead,” Wang told the South China Morning Post.

In addition to Falun Gong, Wang rose to prominence for defending political activists (including members of the New Citizens' Movement), underground Christian communities, and farmers victims of illegal seizure.

Despite his recognised abilities, most observers are convinced that he will not get any review of his trial. His appeal will be an act of political resistance, with a highly symbolic value. At best, he might raise public awareness of what he went through in recent years.

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