CRD Urges Fair Trial of Farmer Seeking Redress for Land LossComments Off on CRD Urges Fair Trial of Farmer Seeking Redress for Land Loss
Trial Set to Open on March 20 on Fujian Farmer
Detained for Protesting Land Appropriation
The trial of farmer Huang Weizhong on “suspicion of gathering crowds to disturb social order” is set to open at the Chengxiang District Court in Putian City, Fujian Procince, on March 20, 2006. The Putian Procuratorate has started the legal proceedings, asking the court to try Mr. Huang for the above-named crime. (The Procuratorate’s legal proceedings, in Chinese: Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=547)
CRD is in touch with Mr. Lu Guang, the defense lawyer for Mr. Huang, who has received the court’s notification for the trial date (Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=547). The lawyer will defend his client’s innocence. CRD urges the Chengxiang District Court judges to exercise judiciary independence, conducting the trial in accordance with Chinese Criminal Procedure Law, PRC Constitution and international human rights law protecting the rights of the accused, ensuring a fair trial of Mr. Huang Weizhong.
(For more information about this case, see Article_Class.asp?ClassID=45)
As CRD reports in China Human Rights Briefing Feb. 27 – March 5 (Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=357), Huang Weizhong, male, 46, is a farmer from a village in Chengxiang District, Putian City, Fujian Province. Mr. Huang led hundreds of people in protests against low levels of compensation for expropriation of farm land, may face trial in a couple of weeks. His lawyer, Lu Guang, told CRD that police at the Chengxiang District PSB of Putian City ended investigation and submitted his case to the Chengxiang District Procuratorate in Putian City for prosecution for the crime of “gathering crowds and disturbing social order” in early February. The prosecutors’ office must make a decision whether to prosecute (or drop the case or send the case back to the police for more evidence) on March 7.
Originally abducted and taken back to Fujian by Putian police when he went to petition on the compensation issue in Beijing on November 9, 2005, he has been in custody since then, but was only formally arrested in January 2006. His lawyer, Lu Guang, of Dingtai Law Firm in Liaoning Province, thinks the court hearing will be held in about two weeks’ time. Huang is now detained at the No. 2 Putian Detention Center. Lu, who visited him in mid-January, said he thought Huang had been beaten as he was bleeding from his mouth and had bruises. Huang is reportedly forced to work 14 hours a day in the detention center.
Farmers from a dozen of villages in Chengxiang District, Putian City, have resorted to petitioning and lawsuit to seek redress for lost land since 2003 without getting any responses from authorities. Other farmers in Putian have also been taken in for questioning, sometimes detained for more than 24 hours. Huang’s brother, who hired the lawyer, handed in documents suing local police for arbitrary detention to the Ministry of Public Security and the Fujian Province Public Security Bureau in late December 2005 without getting any response. Family has been barred from visiting Huang at the detention center.
March 17, 2005