Submission to UN on Li Heping – October 2007

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Questionnaire completed by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, Alleging Torture of Chinese human rights lawyer Li Heping

 

To: Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

 

Special Representative of the UN General Secretary on Human Rights Defenders

 

Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

 

 

a. Full name of the victim: Li, Heping

 

b. Date on which the incident(s) of torture occurred (at least as to the month and year):  September 29-30, 2007

 

c. Place where the person was seized (city, province, etc.) And location at which the torture was carried out (if known):  Beijing, People’s Republic of China

 

d. Indication of the forces carrying out the torture:

 

Main suspect: Police from the National Security Protection unit of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.  The attackers were plainclothes men who did not identify themselves.   But details of the incidents point to the National Protection Unit of the Beijing Public Security Bureau as the main suspect for carrying out the assault.  For example, security police were able to drive cars without license plates in Beijing’s streets. The unidentified men abducted Li while police assigned to monitor him looked on.  The attackers made the same demands of Li as those made by police from the National Security Protection unit.

 

e. Description of the form of torture used and any injury suffered as a result;

 

Putting hood on head, driving to unknown location, several hours’ beating with electric prods, kicking, grabbing hair, and threatening.

 

f. Identify of the person or organization submitting the report (name and address, which will be kept confidential).

 

Chinese Human Rights Defenders

 

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture

 

A. Family Name:  Li

 

B. First and other names: Heping

 

C. Sex: Male

 

D. Birth date or age: 26 October, 1970

 

E. Nationality: People’s Republic of China

 

F. Occupation: Lawyer

 

G. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.): 

Providing legal defense or consultation. Mr. Li practices law at the Gaobo Longhua Law Firm in Beijing. He was the defense lawyer of Yang Zili (杨子立), a university student jailed for posting articles online; Tan Kai (谭凯), an imprisoned environmentalist; and one of the leaders of the “San Ban Pu Ren” (三班仆人, a Christian sect) who was sentenced to death and executed in December 2006. In 2005, Li appealed to the Beijing Bureau of Judicial Affairs on behalf of the lawyer, Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), after Gao’s license was suspended by the Bureau. Li has defended people persecuted for Christian family church activities, members of the Falun Gong, victims of forced eviction, and independent writers.  Li is also an advisor to a number of United Nations programs in China.

 

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

 

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

 

September 29-30, 2007

 

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

 

Unidentified plainclothes men believed to be police from the National Security Protection Unit of Beijing Public Security Bureau

 

C. Describe the methods of torture used

 

At around 5:30pm on September 29, Li was abducted in the parking lot of the office building which houses his law firm, after he briefly spoke to the policemen who were following him. A dozen plainclothes men put a hood on his head, dragged him into a car with no license plate, drove for about an hour to an unknown location, and took him to a basement. There, the men took off his hood and tore off his clothes (except his underwear). They beat him for hours with electric rods, which are commonly used by the police.  They took turns grabbing his hair, throwing him around, verbally abusing him, laughing, as he twisted on the floor in pain. While torturing him, the men shouted, “Will you leave Beijing?” “Get out of Beijing! Otherwise, we’ll beat you whenever we see you.” They told Li that he was a criminal, but refused to say which law he had violated. Li tried to reason with them calmly. Having failed to extract any promise from Li to leave Beijing, the men warned him to practice law “within permissible bounds” and never tell anyone about his beating.

 

Around midnight, they put the hood back on Li’s head, drove him away and dumped him in the woods on Xiao Tang mountain, far in Beijing’s suburbs. Li eventually made his way to a highway and got a taxi home. Li sustained injuries all over his body. He had a headache and his face was swollen. He was in a Beijing hospital yesterday with friends.

 

D. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

 

Bruises all over Li’s body, headache, swollen face

 

E. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

 

The purpose was to force him to leave Beijing, the capital, so he would lose all the contacts and connections for him to work to defend so-called “politically sensitive” cases involving persecuted Christians, members of officially banned Falun Gong, human rights activist, independent writers, and fellow lawyers.  The purpose was also to intimidate him to stop him from defending such people.

 

F. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

 

Mr. Li was examined by doctor in a Beijing hospital on September 30, 2007.

 

G. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

 

Li Heping sustained bruises all over his face, shoulders, hands and body and lost a significant amount of hair. The hospital addressed these injuries.  But he also developed a headache, his face became swollen, and he suffered loss of hearing in his left ear.  These have not been examined by doctors.  (Mr. Li was taken outside of Beijing by family to avoid further encountering with Beijing police.)  But, when condition permits, he will get medical attention to these issues.

 

III. Remedial action

 

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

 

Mr. Li reported the beating and abduction to the local police station.  Police took down the information.  Since the perpetrators did not identify themselves and they blind-folded the victim, it is very difficult to identify them.

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