“Olympics Detainee” Yang Chunlin Ill-treated during Trial

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“Olympics Detainee” Yang Chunlin Ill-treated during Trial
Authorities’ Continued Mistreatment of Yang Raises Fear of Further Torture or Ill-treatment

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, February 21, 2008) – CHRD learnt that Yang Chunlin (杨春林), a human rights defender detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”, was subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment on the day of his trial on February 19.

“It was a gratuitous display of public humiliation, intended to intimidate the defendant, his family and the general public,” said one of Yang’s lawyers.

When Yang left Heitong Detention Center, where he is currently incarcerated, he was in handcuffs and leg irons. He was unable to walk properly or climb into the police van. The guards jeered him and then threw him into the van. When they arrived at the Jiamusi City Intermediate People’s Court, where he was tried, Yang was thrown off the van in a similar manner.

At the Court building, Yang was made to wear a black hood, which covered his head, with its only hole turned to the back of his head. He then had to walk up six flights of stairs to reach the courtroom, in handcuffs and leg irons and without being able to see anything.

Around six to eight police officers shoved him into the courtroom. One officer hooked his arm around Yang’s neck and dragged him to his seat.

After protests by his lawyers, Li Fangping (李方平) and Zhang Jianguo (张建国), Yang was released from the leg irons but his legs were fastened to an iron seat during the trial. Yang was unable to stretch, move or stand up during the 5-hour trial.

Yang left the courtroom in the same fashion as his entry: he was hooded, in handcuffs and leg irons, escorted by eight policemen with one hooking his arm around Yang’s neck. Yang had to hop down the same six flights of stairs to leave the court. It took him at least 10 minutes to do so.

Yang, 52, is a human rights defender from Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province. He was detained four times in 2006 for helping farmers seek compensation for lost land and participating in the hunger strike called by the Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

He was detained on July 6, 2007, and on August 13 formally arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” because he collected 10,000 signatures to endorse the open letter, “We Want Human Rights, not the Olympics”.

While in detention, Yang is said to have been tortured and coerced to confess. The prison authorities have also barred him access to books, pens and paper. Yang has been allowed out of his cell only once every month.

CHRD considers Yang’s treatment during his trial as inhuman and degrading. The treatment had no legal basis, but aimed solely for the purpose of humiliating and intimidating Yang. Conducted in such an atmosphere of intimidation, his trial was unfair.

CHRD is concerned that Yang could be subjected to further torture and degrading treatment, given his ill-treatment during trial and alleged torture in detention.

CHRD calls on the Heilongjiang authorities to respect the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), which China ratified in 1988, and ensure that Yang is not tortured or subjected to other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment.

CHRD also calls for Yang’s immediate and unconditional release. By collecting signatures to endorse a petition seeking human rights improvement prior to the Olympics, Yang was exercising his freedom of expression, not committing a criminal act.

For more information, please see:
Activist Yang Chunlin Tried for Demanding Human Rights Prior to the Olympics (February 19)
Detained Heilongjiang Activist, Yang Chunlin, Allegedly Tortured and Ill-treated (October 9, 2007)
Heilongjiang activist, Yang Chunlin, denied access to lawyer, at risk of torture and ill-treatment (September 25, 2007)
Heilongjiang Activist Yang Chunlin Arrested for Organizing Open-Letter Campaign: “We Want Human Rights, not the Olympics” (August 31, 2007)

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