Detained Sichuan Activists Denied Access to Legal Counsel

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Detained Sichuan Activists Denied Access to Legal Counsel

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, June 25, 2008) –Huang Qi (黄琦), director of Tianwang Human Rights Center ( detained on suspicion of “illegal possession of state secrets” since June 10, is denied access to lawyers by police.

On June 24, police from the National Security Unit under Wuhou District Public Security Bureau, Chengdu City, rejected his lawyer’s request to visit him on the grounds that Huang’s case involvesstate secrets.”

Huang is currently held at Chengdu City Detention Center. Reportedly, Huang was detained for reporting and giving interviews to foreign journalists about protests staged by families of schoolchildren who died in the May 12 Sichuan earthquake.

In a separate incident on June 11, Chen Daojun (陈道军), a Chengdu-based internet writer detained on suspicion of “inciting succession” since May 9, was also denied access to legal counsel because, according to the police, the case involves “state secrets”. Chen has been incarcerated for posting articles online criticizing the construction of a chemical plant in Chengdu and for dissenting from the official line on the incidents in the Tibetan regions in mid-March.

CHRD is seriously concerned about Huang’s and Chen’s situation and the violation of their right to legal counsel. “State secrets” is a vague term which has been arbitrarily invoked in many cases in China. Since there is no clear legal boundary as to when and under what circumstances the police can claim a case involves “state secrets,” in practice, police have wide powers of interpretation in deciding to detain suspects. The Chinese laws barring legal access to those accused of state-secret-related crimes violate international conventions such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, especially Article 14 (3).

For more information, please see:

Human Rights Defender Huang Qi Disappear, Feared Detained by Police (June 12, 2008)

Cyber Activists Detained for “Inciting” Anti-Pollution March in Chengdu (May 12, 2008)

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