Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Chen Guangcheng Denied Medical CareComments Off on Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Chen Guangcheng Denied Medical Care
Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Chen Guangcheng Denied Medical Care
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- January 14, 2009) – CHRD has learned that imprisoned human rights defender Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) has been denied appropriate medical care and is in very poor health following months of digestive affliction.
Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), who visited her husband at the Linyi Prison in Shandong Province in late December 2008, reports that Chen has been suffering from diarrhea daily since July 2008. Seeing her husband for the first time in more than a year, Yuan discovered that Chen’s skin had become sallow and he appeared emaciated and frail. According to the prison doctor, who has examined him three times since the beginning of his illness in July of 2008, Chen has blood in his stool and suffers from chronic gastroenteritis; however, the doctor has not performed bacterial cultures necessary to properly diagnose Chen, and prison officials refuse to allow further medical examination without provincial-level approval. Chen’s condition is being exacerbated by a lack of access to clean water inside the jail, and a diet restricted to thin rice gruel.
Chen, who is blind, is eligible both for parole and for release on bail for medical treatment, according to relevant Chinese laws and regulations. However, since submitting his applications for parole in September 2008 and for release on bail for medical treatment more than a year ago, he has received no official response.
Furthermore, he has been prevented from receiving regular visits from his wife, as a group of twenty local officials and guards keep her under constant surveillance at home, and have intercepted and restrained her as she tried to travel to the prison on numerous occasions.
CHRD reiterates the call for the immediate and unconditional release of Chen Guangcheng as well as an end to the prolonged harassment of his wife.
We believe that the deprivation of Chen’s liberty results from the exercise of his rights or freedoms (including the rights to free opinion, speech, expression, press, assembly, association, and demonstration) guaranteed by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed, though not yet ratified. Chen was incarcerated in retaliation for his work in defending human rights and for exercising his rights to free expression and opinion and criticizing government policy.
CHRD calls for the Chinese government to honor the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which it signed and ratified, to ensure that Chen is protected from cruel and inhuman treatment. CHRD demands that, while he remains in custody, Chen be granted adequate medical treatment without delay.
Chen Guangcheng is a human rights activist, self-taught legal advisor, and “barefoot lawyer” who has worked for years to protect the rights of farmers and the disabled. As a result of his work to challenge the use of violence in enforcing China’s population control policy, including providing legal aid to villagers seeking to file lawsuits, Chen was targeted by the authorities and subjected to illegal arrest and detention on three separate occasions.
On August 24, 2006, after more than eight months of house arrest and illegal detention, Chen was sentenced to four years in prison for “inciting destruction of property” and “intentional obstruction of traffic.” Despite flagrant instances of non-compliance with international standards for a fair trial- including the torture of key witnesses, the cruel and inhumane treatment of the defendant and his family, and intimidation and violent attacks on his lawyers- during his trials and appeals, the verdict has been upheld and he has remained in prison until today.
For more information, please see:
Shandong Officials Continue Harassing Wife of Jailed Human Rights Defender
November 24, 2007
Officials Ignored Requests for Medical Parole and for Filing Complaints to Higher Court about Verdict
March 23, 2007
China vs. a Blind Human Rights Defender: A Report on the Case of Imprisoned Chen Guangcheng
February 20, 2007