Submission to UN on Liu Zhengyou – June 16, 2010

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Communiqué Alleging Illegally Prolonged Detention of Human Rights Defender Liu Zhengyou

TO: Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

 

Chinese Human Rights Defenders would like to call your attention to the case of Liu Zhengyou, a human rights defender currently detained in Zigong City, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China. Mr. Liu has been on a hunger strike to protest his detention since May 31, and his lawyer Zheng Jianwei, who visited with him on June 3, reports that he is very weak and in poor health. The full details of his case are included below.

 

1. Name of alleged victim:

Liu Zhengyou (刘正有)

DOB: March 10, 1952

2. Status of the victim as a human rights defender:

Liu Zhengyou is a longtime activist and founder of a local group  devoted to providing assistance to petitioners and documenting local rights abuses. A farmer, construction worker and owner of a rural machine tool factory, Liu got his start as a land rights activist in 1993 when Zigong City officials began seizing farmland in and around the village where he was living. He was designated a leader by fellow farmers, and for the next decade Liu led the farmers in pursuing every available avenue of potential redress—filing lawsuits and appeals, petitioning, and writing letters to officials—without success. Liu has traveled to government offices across Sichuan and in Beijing speaking out on behalf of victims of injustice, delivering hundreds of open letters to government officials.

Liu’s reports on human rights violations  appeared frequently on CHRD Chinese website (crd-net.org) and on news websites, such as Boxun (www.boxun.com) and Canyu (www.canyu.org). CHRD recently featured an article he wrote on the establishment of black jails in Zigong City (available here, in Chinese). In 2006, Liu was one of seven Chinese housing rights activists to jointly receive the Housing Rights Defender Award, presented by the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE).

3. Alleged violation/s committed against the victim:

On November 11, 2009, Liu was taken from his home by local police, and shortly thereafter criminally detained on suspicion of “fraud.” Eight officers also searched Liu’s apartment and copied the contents of his personal computer. Liu was formally arrested, along with his wife, Hu Yulan (胡玉兰), on December 7, 2009. Since then, Liu has remained in detention. His case has twice been sent back to the Public Security Bureau by the Ziliujing District Procuratorate for further investigation, first on January 19, 2010, and then on March 16, 2010.

We believe that Liu is being held in detention in violation of relevant regulations in the Criminal Procedure Law of the PRC. According to Section Nine, Article 138:

A People’s Procuratorate shall make a decision within one month on a case that a public security organ has transferred to it with a recommendation to initiate a prosecution; an extension of a half month may be allowed for major or complex cases.

Article 140 states that supplementary investigation may be conducted twice at most. As Liu’s case was returned to the procuratorate on April 15, following the second round of supplementary investigation, May 30 should have been the final date by which the procuratorate should have reached their decision.

Prior to May 30, the procuratorate reportedly leaked that it was planning to release Liu; however, when Liu’s sister and a fellow activist from Sichuan went to the Zigong Detention Center on May 30, they were told that Liu could not be released because he would “cause great harm to society” and that the procuratorate needed to perform “further research.”  Liu began his hunger strike the next day.

4. Perpetrators/Witnesses:

Liu is currently being held in the Zigong City Detention Center. The Ziliujing District Procuratorate in Zigong City is currently responsible for his case.

5. Action by authorities:

The authorities are responsible for seizing, arresting, and detaining Liu Zhengyou.

6. Link between the violation and human rights work

CHRD believes that officials are retaliating against Liu for his continued assistance to petitioners and victims of forced evictions as well as his outspoken reporting on human rights abuses. By helping petitioners bring complaints and by exposing government malfeasance, Liu has angered local officials who now seek to both silence him and punish him for his work.

Liu has not been brought before a judge and he has been detained beyond  legally prescribed period of time according to the law.  In any case, we believe that there is no basis for holding him in detention, and that the charge of “fraud” has been trumped up by Public Security Bureau officials.

 

 

 

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