Justice Aborted: Violations of Court Procedure in Trial of Internet Writer

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CRD Press Release April 16, 2006

Justice Aborted: Violations of Court Procedure in Trial of Internet Writer

The trial of Internet writer Li Jianping constitutes justice aborted. CRD calls on the judiciary to hold a retrial. The Zibo Municipal Intermediate People’s Court put the Internet writer Li Jianping on trial on charges of “inciting subversion of the state” on April 12, 2006.

During the trial, prosecutors introduced their only evidence against Mr. Li: copies of thirty one articles published online, but neither the titles nor the contents of the articles were ever mentioned. Though the defendant was asked to confirm his authorship of these articles, neither he nor his lawyer were given any chance to question the evidence or to present a defence.

The court claimed that the trial was “public,” which means that it did not regard the case as one involving “state secrets” or personal privacy. However, family members who attended the trial were carefully checked and their background investigated before they were admitted to court. The court only allowed about 20 people who had official permission to attend, including family members of the defendant and the lawyer. No recording or note-taking were allowed during the court session. The trial was not open to independent journalists.

CRD labels the trial “justice aborted” because of the absence of cross-examination of the “evidence” and the lack of any opportunity to present a defence. If the court were to rush to reach a verdict based on this truncated trial, the verdict would not be based on reliable evidence, and the court would not have respected the defendant’s right to present a defence and his right to due process under the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law.

CRD urges the Zibo court to hold a retrial or continue the trial to complete its unfinished business – to allow the defendant to defend himself and to allow lawyers to cross-examine the prosecutors’ “evidence.” The retrial or continued trial must be conducted openly and fairly in accordance with procedure prescribed in the PRC Criminal Procedure Law, as well as relevant provisions of the PRC Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998.

Li Jianping, born March 7, 1966, is a businessman and an independent writer who posted articles on democratic ideas online. He was arrested on May 27, 2005, and was under criminal detention before he was indicted on “suspicion of defamation” on June 30, 2005. The seriousness of the charge was increased to “inciting subversion of the state” on August 30, 2005. The case was twice returned from the Zibo Municipal Procuratorate to the Zibo Public Security Bureau for further investigation. On March 9, Zibo Municipal Procuratorate filed the case for prosecution with the Zibo Intermediate Court. Li Jianping has been detained at the Zibo Municipal Detention Center. Li’s lawyer submitted a written brief defending his client’s innocence on February 27, 2006.

For more information about the Internet prisoner Li Jianping, please visit CRD case file (in Chinese) Article_Class.asp?ClassID=27

For more information about this statement, please contact:
Renee Xia admin@chinese-rights-defenders.net

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