Shi Tao: Prison Condition and Appeal by Family

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An Update on Shi Tao’s Conditions in Prison and Appeal by Family to PRC Supreme Court

CRD has obtained the latest information about the prison conditions of Shi Tao, the journalist and Internet writer, whose case has drawn international spotlight partly due to Yahoo HK’s role in providing Chinese authorities information about Mr. Shi email correspondences online, which was used as the key evidence in court again him and led to his 10-year imprisonment and 2-year deprivation of political rights for “the crime of illegally sending state secret overseas.”

Soon after the final verdict was issued by the Hunan High Court on June 2, Ms. Gao Qinsheng, Shi Tao’s mother, filed an appeal on behalf of her son to the PRC Supreme Court (See Appendix 2). Shi Tao’s lawyers for his second trial, Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui, submitted their legal opinion about the Hunan High Court’s final verdict (See Appendix 3). However, the PRC Supreme Court so far has failed to respond nearly three months after the appeal.

Since the verdict, Shi Tao had been jailed and put through pre-prison training at the Custody Center of Prison Management Department of Hunan Province for two months. During this period, families were not allowed to visit. The harsh conditions at the training facility worsened Shi Tao’s pre-existing health conditions, including chronic ulcer and a heart condition. On September 5, Shi Tao began serving his sentence at the Chishan Prison in Hunan. The prison is located in a small town called South Tip (Nan Zui), Yuanjiang City, on a tiny island in the middle of the Dongting Lake, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The prison is used for prisoners serving 10-year or longer sentences, including political prisoners, Falun Gong faithfuls, and gangster bosses.

Shi Tao’s mother, Ms. Gao Qinsheng has visited her son at the Chishan Prison twice so far. She was allowed to bring him medicine and other daily life supplies. Speaking to Li Jian, she said she found the conditions slightly better than those at the training center. However, she is concerned that Shi Tao is now forced to do labor in prison in processing jewels, which may cause certain lung disease, an occupational condition associated with jewel processing.

CRD joins Li Jian, who hosts the Citizens Defending Rights website, to urge concerned Chinese citizens and the international community to continue monitoring prison conditions, pressing the PRC Supreme Court to respond to Ms. Gao’s appeal on behalf of Shi Tao and issue its legal opinion about the sentence in accordance with the PRC Constitution’s amendment on the protection of human rights and international human rights standards.

Phone number of Ms. Gao Qinsheng:86-731-2412028
Phone number of prison administration at Hunan Chishan Prison:86-737-2288360
Phone number of the 6th unit at Hunan Chishan Prison:86-737-2286147
Phone number of Hunan Province High Court, the first criminal court:86-731-2206082

CRD

September 26, 2005

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