Submission to UN on Lü Jiangbo – April 26, 2013Comments Off on Submission to UN on Lü Jiangbo – April 26, 2013
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
on behalf of Lü Jiangbo, citizen of the People’s Republic of China
Alleging Arbitrary Detention, Torture & Reprisal Against a Human Rights Defender
1. Family name: LŰ (吕)
2. First name: Jiangbo（江波）
3. Sex: Male
4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): June 8, 1966
5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China
6. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): A businessman-turned-village director who organized residents of Keren Village to defend their rights against illegal land requisition by local government officials
1. Date of arrest: February 7, 2010
2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): Keren Village in Jinjiang City, Fujian Province
3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: JinjiangCity Public Security Bureau (“Jinjiang PSB”)
4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority? N/A
1. Date of detention: March 30, 2010 (following shuanggui [双规]，a form of extralegal detention specifically for disciplining Chinese Communist Party officials, which began on February 8, 2010)
2. Duration of detention: FromMarch 30, 2010 through the present (i.e., his detention is ongoing). According to the court’s decision, his 11-year sentence expires on March 29, 2021.
3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: TheJinjiang PSB held Mr. Lü for 24 hours from the date of summoning him (on February 7, 2010), and then transferred Lü to shuanggui, a form of extralegal detention conducted by the Jinjiang City Discipline Inspection Commission. On March 30, 2010, Mr. Lü was transferred to the Jinjiang PSB for criminal detention until his transfer to Jinjiang Prison, which is run by the Jinjiang Prison Management Bureau, after he was sentenced on October 28, 2010.
4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Following the 50-day period of shuanggui, Mr. Lü was initially detained at the Jinjiang City Detention Center, and then transferred to Jinjiang Prison following his sentencing on October 28, 2010. He is currently incarcerated in Jinjiang Prison.
5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Jinjiang Intermediate People’s Court, Jinjiang City, Fujian Province
6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: obstructing official business, extortion, undermining elections, seizing a post, obstructing testimony, accepting bribes from non-state workers (through organizing residents of Keren Village to defend their rights against illegal land requisition by government officials)
7. Relevant legislation applied (if known): Mr. Lü’s 11-year prison sentence for six crimes was ordered pursuant to the following provisions of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China (CL):
- Article 277 (1), which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years to those who, by means of violence or threat, obstruct a functionary of a State organ from carrying out its functions according to law (“obstructing official business”);
- Article 274, which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years to those who extort public or private money or property by blackmail, if the amount is relatively large (“extortion”);
- Article 256, which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years to those who disrupt an election or obstruct the electorate and deputies from freely exercising their right to vote and to stand for election by such means as violence, threat, deception, bribery, falsification of electoral documents or false report of ballots in election of the deputies to the people’s congresses and the leading members of State organs at various levels, and the circumstances are serious (“undermining elections”);
- Article 271, which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years to any employee of a company, enterprise or any other unit who, taking advantage of his position, unlawfully takes possession of the money or property of his own unit, and the amount is relatively large (“seizing a post”);
- Article 307 (1), which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years to those who by violence, threat, bribery or any other means, obstruct a witness from giving testimony or instigate another person to give false testimony (“obstructing testimony”); and
- Article 163 (2), which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years to any employee of a company or enterprise who, violating State regulations in economic activities, accepts rebates or service charges of various descriptions and takes them into his own possession.
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
Mr. Lü, a businessman-turned-village chief from Jinjiang City, Fujian Province who organized residents of Keren Village to defend their rights in the face of illegal land requisition by government officials, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on six criminal charges in late October 2010, following his trial held the previous month. He was initially taken into custody in early 2010 on suspicion of “obstructing official business,” a trumped-up charge apparently stemming from a clash between villagers and construction workers at a controversial development site (see more below). He was then held in shuanggui (双规), a form of extralegal detention specifically for disciplining Chinese Communist Party officials, for 50 days, even though he was not a Party member.
During his trial in September 2010, Mr. Lü testified that he was tortured to confess while in police custody, and he displayed scars from the abuse he suffered. However, the court did not accept this testimony. On the morning of the verdict hearing in October, a force of approximately 200 police and city administration and law enforcement officers blocked all the roads leading out of Keren Village, and beat a number of villagers, including an 88-year old woman, who tried to travel to Jinjiang to attend the hearing. Outside the courthouse, police seized and briefly detained journalist He Huagao (何华高) of the Information Times newspaper. This behavior clearly violates China’s Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), which stipulates that first-instance trials shall be heard in public (Articles 11, 152 of the 1996 CPL).
Mr. Lü was summoned for questioning and subsequently detained after a clash between Keren villagers and construction workers in early 2010. Without following proper legal procedures, Jinjiang City officials had previously demanded that Keren residents relinquish 1,200 mu (approximately 200 acres) of land for the construction of a college campus. In February 2010, Lü convened a meeting of village representatives and put the government’s plans to a vote. The representatives voted against the development. Nevertheless, construction crews arrived at the site of the proposed construction, and an altercation broke out between villagers and workers.
Mr. Lü, who was elected village director in 2003, was convicted at trial along with eight other villagers, all of whom were given sentences ranging from six months (suspended for one year) to three years in prison. All of Lü’s co-defendants are believed to be major actors in resisting the government’s land grabs by persistently petitioning the government. However, Lü’s disproportionately lengthy and harsh sentence testifies to local officials’ concerns over his influence, as well as their strong motivation to retaliate against him for organizing Keren Village residents and his overall land rights defense efforts. Lü’s advocacy work on related issues dates back to at least 1998, when he and a teacher from Keren co-authored a public letter to then-Premier Zhu Rongji complaining of illegal land seizures in the village.
Under the Working Group’s criteria for determining when a deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, the circumstances of Mr. Lü’s detention satisfy both Category II (i.e., when the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)) and Category III (i.e., when the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, spelled out in the UDHR 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).
Mr. Lü has been convicted of multiple crimes and given a harsh sentence solely on the basis of the peaceful exercise of his rights guaranteed under the UDHR. Accordingly, his detention is arbitrary under Category II.
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.
After his conviction, Mr. Lü appealed to the Jinjiang Intermediate People’s Court on November 3, 2010. There is no available information regarding an appeal hearing on this case.
Residents of Keren Village have submitted a letter to authorities appealing for his release.
While held at Jinjiang City Detention Center, Lü wrote letters that challenged what he perceived as his unjust detention, and these letters were posted online.
Background and additional information relating to previous arbitrary detentions as well as violation of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression:
Mr. Lü’s health has reportedly been very bad in prison. Authorities have not approved any application submitted by his family for him to be released on medical parole.
Harassment of human rights lawyers
Mr. Lü’s legal representative, Beijing-based human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), said that when he went to Jinjiang Prison to meet Lü, he was asked to apply for permission. Liu was also humiliated and scolded by the presiding officers.