Ge Zhihui (葛志慧): Submission to UN – April 29, 2014Comments Off on Ge Zhihui (葛志慧): Submission to UN – April 29, 2014
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
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
Communique on Behalf of Ge Zhihui, Citizen of the People’s Republic of China,
Alleging Arbitrary Detention, Torture,
Violation of Freedom of Religion or Belief, Assembly and Association,
and Reprisals against Human Rights Defenders
1. Family name: Ge (葛)
2. First name: 志慧(Zhihui)
3. Sex: Female
4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): August 7, 1966
5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China
6. (a) Identity document (if any): ID Card
7. Address of usual residence:
8. Professions and/or activities of the detainees (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention):
Ge Zhihui (葛志慧), a petitioner, was a victim of a violent forced demolition of her home that left her disabled and reliant on crutches for movement. She has been detained and harassed many times for petitioning for compensation over the demolition and related injuries, as well as her broader activism, including participation in UN human rights mechanisms.
1. Date of arrest: March 1, 2014
2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): Ge was taken away from her home in Beijing
3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: Police from the Fengtai District branch of the Beijing Public Security Bureau (“Beijing PSB”)
4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority?
(Yes) ……. (No)… √…..
5. Authority who issued the warrant or decision: No warrant is known to have been issued.
6. Relevant legislation applied (if known): Since no warrant is known to have been issued, it is unclear what relevant legislation that police used to issue the arrest.
1. Date of detention: March 1, 2014
2. Duration of detention (if not known, probable duration): From March 1, 2014 through the present (i.e., her detention is ongoing)
3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: Fengtai District branch of the Beijing PSB
4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Fengtai District Detention Center in Beijing Municipality
5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Fengtai District branch of the Beijing PSB
6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: The PSB initially charged Ms. Ge with “illegal assembly” and then changed the charge to “creating a disturbance.” Ge is now being criminally detained on suspicion of “using a cult to undermine implementation of the law” for allegedly spreading information about Falun Gong.
7. Relevant legislation applied (if known):
For the crime of “using a cult to undermine implementation of the law,” Article 300 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates a fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years to those who forms or uses superstitious sects or secret societies or weird religious organizations or uses superstition to undermine the implementation of the laws and administrative rules and regulations of the State.
IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to be arbitrary
On March 1, 2014, Ms. Ge Zhihui was taken away from her home by Beijing police and criminally detained in Fengtai District Detention Center in Beijing. In taking her into custody, police also searched her residence, seizing two computers, books and articles about human rights, and petitioning materials. Ge’s detention came just two days before the UN Human Rights Council opened its first session since China was elected last November to its third term on the Council, a “politically sensitive” time in the view of the Chinese government.
Ms. Ge has been under criminal detention beyond the legally prescribed time limit before either being formally arrested or released, which is 37 days as stipulated by China’s Criminal Procedural Law. In violation of Chinese law, authorities also did not permit her attorney, Li Jinglin (李静林), or her family members to see her until April 15, when Li met with her. It was Li’s eighth attempt to visit Ge, and the meeting occurred only after the lawyer filed a complaint with a local procuratorate.
According to lawyer Li, Ms. Ge has been suffering severe torture in detention. Ge is a disabled person who needs crutches to walk, but police officers at Fengtai District Detention Center have handcuffed and chained her up, completely prohibiting her from moving about. She is interrogated, intimidated, and threatened almost everyday, and is not allowed to go to the toilet during interrogation. Officers in the detention center also often verbally insult and humiliate her. She is not allowed to speak to other detainees, and was not allowed to shower for more than 20 days.
Ms. Ge has been hospitalized due to severe physical problems caused by the inhumane treatment and torture. Reportedly suffering from brain infarction, serious anemia, and kaliopenia, she was sent to Beijing 307 Military Hospital on March 25 and transferred the next day to Beijing Public Security Hospital. On April 4, she was sent back to Fengtai District Detention Center. Only on that date did her family receive a detention notice indicating that Ms. Ge had been criminally detained on a charge of “using a cult to undermine implementation of the law.” The police also told Ge’s family that they found evidence from her computer showing that she had started propagandizing Falun Gong in 2006, even though Ge did not even have a computer at that time.
Ms. Ge has told lawyer Li that police interrogations in the detention center have focused on four issues: (1) A hospital visit to Ms. Cao Shunli (曹顺利), a Chinese activist who died on March 14, 2014, after more than five months of detention (in retaliation for her activism related to UN rights mechanisms), during which time Cao was not provided medical care for conditions that ultimately took her life; (2) Ms. Ge’s involvement in a Christian house church; (3) Her participation in UN human rights training activities held in Geneva earlier in 2014; and (4) The source of US$2,000 in her bank account.
In retaliation for her advocacy activities, Ms. Ge has been detained solely on the basis of the peaceful exercise of her rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Specifically, under the Working Group’s criteria for determining when a deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, the circumstances of her 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 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).
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
Human rights organizations inside and outside of China have publicly reported on Ms. Ge’s ongoing case, posting information online and disseminating it via email.
Date submitted: April 29, 2014