Submission to UN on Ji Sizun – November 15, 2008Comments Off on Submission to UN on Ji Sizun – November 15, 2008
Questionnaire completed by CHRD Alleging Arbitrary Arrest and Detention PRC Citizen Ji Sizun
To: The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
The Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders
Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
1. Family name: Ji (纪)
2. First name: Sizun (斯尊)
3. Sex: Male
4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): December 10, 1949
5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China
6. (a) Identity document (if any): Identification Card
(b) Issued by: Zhangzhou City Public Security Bureau (PSB), Fujian Province
7. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention):
Ji is an activist who had provided legal aid and offered legal training to petitioners for years. However, his legal aid work encountered difficulties due to interference of local authorities in Fujian Province.
On August 9, 2008, Ji applied for a permit to protest against social and political problems at the official Olympics “Protest Zones” at Beijing PSB. Ji, accompanied by a dozen domestic and foreign journalists, was told by the police that since it was Saturday and outside of their office hours, Ji’s application could not be approved. On August 11, Ji returned to the same office at Beijing PSB to hand in his application again, but he “disappeared”. It was later discovered that he had been detained by the police.
1. Date of arrest: August 11, 2008
2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible):
At the office of the Beijing PSB Law and Order Corps
3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out:
Fuzhou City PSB, Beijing Liaison Office of Fujian Province and Beijing PSB Law and Order Corps.
It is believed that Beijing PSB Law and Order Corps notified interceptors from Fuzhou City PSB and Beijing Liaison Office of Fujian Province to take Ji away when he came to hand in application for protest on August 11.
4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority?
5. Authority who issued the warrant or decision:
No warrant was issued.
6. Relevant legislation applied (if known):
No warrant was issued. Thus it is unclear if any relevant legislation was applied in the arrest.
1. Date of detention: August 11, 2008
2. Duration of detention (if not known, probable duration):
Ji has been detained since August 11, 2008. He has been detained for more than three months at the time of writing.
3. Forces holding the detainee under custody:
Fuzhou City PSB in Fujian Province
4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention):
Fuzhou City No. 2 Detention Center in Fujian Province.
5. Authorities that ordered the detention:
Fuzhou City PSB in Fujian Province
6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities:
Ji is currently detained on suspicion of “forging an official seal”.
7. Relevant legislation applied (if known):
“Forging official seal” is a crime under No. 280 of the People’s Republic of China Criminal Law.
IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to the arbitrary
According to the WGAD’s methods, deprivation of a person’s liberty is “arbitrary”, if the case falls into at least one or all of three categories （http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/detention/complaint）:
A) When it is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him)(Category I);
B) When the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 10 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, insofar as States parties are concerned, by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Category II); (i.e., rights to free opinion, speech, expression, press, assembly, association, and demonstration, etc.)
C) When the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character (Category III).
The arrest and detention of Ji is arbitrary because it violates at least Category II and possibly Category III.
Category I: Ji has been detained and arrested solely for applying to hold a peaceful demonstration. The authorities have violated Ji’s right to assembly, guaranteed in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed, as well as Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.
It is also believed that Ji has been retaliated against for his activism—providing legal aid to petitioners. If this is the case, the authorities have also violated Ji’s right to association, guaranteed in Article 22 of the ICCPR as well as Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.
Category III: Ji’s friends have been barred from visiting him at Fuzhou No. 2 Detention Center, where he is currently held, and therefore unable to obtain information regarding his situation in detention. However, from the limited information available, Ji had given his friends permission to hire a lawyer for him. However, the PSB rejected a lawyer hired by Ji’s friends because the lawyer did not have the authorization of Ji’s family, whom could not be contacted since Ji’s detention. Ji’s friends had written to the PSB asking contact information of Ji’s family, but there was no response. Instead, the PSB appointed Ji a lawyer. Ji’s friends and fellow activists are worried that the appointed lawyer will not defend the activist in good faith. The fact that the PSB obstructed Ji from seeking legal counsel of his choice violates Article 14(3d) of the ICCPR.
Ji is also entitled to communication with his friends and family. The fact that Fuzhou PSB has barred friends from visiting the activist is a violation of Principle 92 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. From the limited information available, Ji is also believed to have no contact with his family while in detention. CHRD is worried that, held out of sight from family and friends and “represented” by an appointed lawyer, Ji might be mistreated in detention.
The rights to legal counsel of one’s choice and to family/friends visits during pre-trial detention are pre-trial rights that form part of the right to a fair-trial.
V. Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, as appropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken
- As stated above, Ji’s friends had been given the permission to hire a lawyer for the activist but their choice was rejected by Fuzhou PSB. Because Ji’s friends have been barred from visiting the activist and unable to contact his family, they have been unable to take any other effective actions to secure his release.
- Human rights organizations, such as the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), have released urgent appeals calling for his release with no avail.