Arrested Dissident Writer Liu Xiaobo Meets with Lawyers for First Time

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Arrested Dissident Writer Liu Xiaobo Meets with Lawyers for First Time

Lawyer Mo Shaoping Barred from Handling Case for Having Signed Charter 08

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- June 26, 2009) This afternoon, Shang Baojun (尚宝军) and Ding Xikui (丁锡奎), lawyers from Beijing’s Mo Shaoping Law Firm, met with detained dissident writer and activist Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) for the first time since he was detained and put under “residential surveillance” on Dec. 8, 2008, and formally arrested on suspicion on “inciting subversion of state power” last week.

Lawyer Mo Shaoping (莫少平), originally authorized by Liu’s family to represent Liu, has been barred from doing so by authorities who have labeled him a “co-defendant” in Mr. Liu’s case. Lawyer Mo has lodged a complaint with officials to protest their decision, and Mr. Ding has been authorized by Liu’s family to take Mo’s place. The meeting, which took place at the Public Security Bureau (PSB) Detention Center in Douge Zhuang, Beijing, lasted approximately 40 minutes. However, a policeman was present during the entire meeting, in violation of lawyer-client meeting regulations set forth in the Lawyers’ Law.

“The violation of international human rights standards here is clear and inexcusable. Mr. Liu has been detained incommunicado for more than six months, mostly in a windowless room without any outdoor time,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “Furthermore, it’s a blatant interference in the independence of lawyers that authorities barred Mr. Mo Shaoping from representing Liu due to his endorsement of Charter 08! It’s ridiculous that Mr. Liu and Mr. Mo, along with more than 8000 other Charter 08 signatories in China, are presumed guilty of a crime by the authorities for freely expressing their views!”

According to his lawyers, Liu reported that police investigations have focused on his involvement with Charter 08 and more than 20 articles which Liu published between 2001 and 2008. Liu said he was not guilty of any crime, as he was exercising his freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution. Liu also stated he was not tortured to force confession during the more than six months he was kept in residential surveillance at an undisclosed location outside of Beijing, though the move to the detention center was “an improvement” since he now has regular outdoor time and he has five detainees in his cell with whom he can talk. Liu was given a formal arrest warrant issued by the procuratorate on June 23 and transferred to the detention center where he is now being held.

Lawyers Shang and Ding noted that officials have violated proper legal procedure on a number of occasions while handling Liu’s case. Most glaringly, Article 57 of China’s Criminal Procedural Law (CPL) states that a suspect subjected to residential surveillance must be held either in his/her home or a designated dwelling if s/he has no permanent residence. Detaining Liu, who has a home in Beijing, in an undisclosed location therefore breaches this legal provision. Furthermore, his residential surveillance expired on June 8 (Article 58 of the CPL stipulates a maximum of six months for this type of detention), but he was not formally arrested until June 23, meaning that he was detained for 15 days with no legal basis. Most recently, while authorities allowed Liu’s family to appoint two lawyers to represent Liu, they did not allow Liu to sign the document authorizing these lawyers to speak on his behalf, as he is required to do by law.

Media Contacts for this Release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937

Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +852 8191 1660

For more information, please see:

Liu Xiaobo Formally Arrested for “Inciting Subversion of State Power” (June 24, 2009)

Lawyer for Liu Xiaobo Submits Formal Request Demanding Details of Activist’s Detention (February 11, 2009)

Liu Xiaobo under Residential Surveillance at Undisclosed Location (January 2, 2009)

Inciting Subversion of State Power’: A Legal Tool for Prosecuting Free Speech in China (January 8, 2008)

Chinese Government Responds with a Crackdown on Activists for Commemorating 60th Anniversary of UDHR (December 9, 2008)

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