Hu Jia’s Trial for “Inciting Subversion of State Power” Scheduled for March 18

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Hu Jia’s Trial for “Inciting Subversion of State Power” Scheduled for March 18
Authorities must take remedial measures to guarantee Hu Jia a free and fair trial

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 13, 2008)- CHRD learned today that Hu Jia, the prominent human rights defender detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” will be tried on March 18 by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court

On March 12, only six days before the trial, Hu’s lawyers Li Jingsong (李劲松) and Li Fangping (李方平) were notified of the trial date. The processing of Hu’s case has been unusually speedy compared to normal practices in such high-profile cases. The trial date was set only twenty-two days after the case was sent to the Procuratorate for indictment on February 19. These arrangements, the lawyers observed, are the authorities’ deliberate attempt to catch them off-guard and unprepared for the trial – they simply do not have enough time to go through the huge stack of court files, made available to them by the Court on March 11, and make adequate preparations for defending Hu in court.

The trial will presumably be public since the court notice does not specify any involvement of “state secrets” in this case. However, Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), and two of Hu’s outspoken supporters and those who have provided legal advice to the family, will be barred from attending the trial because, according to the authorities, they are “witnesses” to the case and have been questioned in connection to it. Hu’s parents are planning to attend the trial.

According to Hu’s lawyers, who met him on March 12, Hu told lawyers he was interrogated 47 times in the first two months of his detention, each time between 6 and 14 hours, usually at night. Hu told the lawyers that he was not “tortured” or “mistreated”, but the interrogations were conducted in a fashion that they could be described as intended to overwhelm him through fatigue, isolation, and what his family called “brainwashing”.

During previous visits, family members found Hu very slow and expressionless. Police were present at the several visits by family and lawyers.

Interrogations ended toward the end of January when Hu apparently acknowledged the articles he wrote and the interviews he gave to the media. But Hu did not admit guilt for any crime, according to lawyers who are familiar with the case.

CHRD deplores the denial of Hu’s right to a free and fair trial. He was deprived of access to legal counsel in the first month of his detention and interrogation. Then, only one of his two lawyers was allowed to visit him. Now, the court has given insufficient time for his lawyers to study the large volume of case files, including the prosecutors’ “evidence” against him.

CHRD calls on the Beijing No. 1 People’s Intermediate Court to take remedial measures to guarantee Hu’s right to a free and fair trial, a right protected under the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as by Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed, though not ratified, thus pledging not to violate the rights contained therein.

CHRD believes that Hu is being persecuted solely for his peaceful activities of speaking up against human rights violations. Hu has the right to freedom of expression and the right to engage in human rights – defending activities. He should not be prosecuted for exercising his constitutional rights and internationally recognized human rights. The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 19 of the ICCPR.

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