Olympics Prisoner Yang Chunlin Tortured

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Olympics Prisoner Yang Chunlin Tortured
China must end persecution of the outspoken human rights critic

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 31, 2008)- CHRD learned today that Yang Chunlin (杨春林), “Olympics Prisoner” and human rights defender, was beaten on March 5 while incarcerated at Heitong Detention Center, Heilongjiang Province.

On March 28, during a meeting between Yang and his lawyers, Yang said he was beaten by guards at the detention center on March 5 after he had publicly pointed out the misconduct of some prison cadres. Yang was beaten so badly that the corner of his eye was injured. The authorities had postponed Yang’s verdict to March 24 to ensure that his injury would have disappeared by then and that nobody would learn of the beating.

Yang has not been allowed out of his cell since his detention in July 2007, even though detention regulations stipulate that detainees must be allowed out at least two hours everyday.

Yang also said that, earlier in his detention between August 6 and 14, 2007, his arms and legs were chained together using one iron chain, which made him unable to move.

CHRD condemns the beating and mistreatment of Yang. Yang has been repeatedly tortured and mistreated throughout the course of his incarceration and trial. In late September 2007, Yang was reportedly tortured and coerced to confess. On February 19, he was publicly humiliated at his trial and on March 25, Yang was beaten at his sentencing hearing. Given this record, there is reason to fear that he could be subjected to further torture and degrading treatment during his imprisonment.

CHRD calls on the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to investigate these allegations and, if it finds evidence that Yang has been tortured, to demand that the Chinese government end the torture and ill-treatment of Yang and bring those who have committed torture to justice. China signed and ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1988. It is important to note that CAT is currently reviewing the Chinese government’s 4th and 5th joint report on the implementation of the convention against torture.

CHRD also calls for Yang‘s immediate and unconditional release. By collecting signatures to endorse a petition seeking improvement in China’s human rights situation prior to the Olympics, Yang was peacefully exercising his freedom of expression. The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed (but not yet ratified). This right is also enshrined in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.

Yang, 52, is a laid-off worker and human rights defender from Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province.

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

Yang was tried on February 19 and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power.”

For more information, please see:
“Olympics Prisoner” Yang Chunlin Sentenced to Five Years in Prison (March 26, 2008)

“Olympics Detainee” Yang Chunlin Ill-treated during Trial (February 21)
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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