Ji Sizun (纪斯尊)Comments Off on Ji Sizun (纪斯尊)
Ji Sizun 纪斯尊
Under medical watch*
Crime: Gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place & picking quarrels and provoking troubles
Length of Punishment: 4.5 years
Court: Minhou County People’s Court, Fujian Province
Trial Date: December 15, 2015
Sentencing Date: April 18, 2016
Dates of Detention/Arrest: October 21, 2014 (detained); December 19, 2014 (arrested)
Date of Birth: December 10, 1949
Medical condition: Stroke, partial paralysis, high blood pressure, diabetes
Place of Incarceration: Putian Prison, Fujian Province (pre-trial detention in Fuzhou No. 1 Detention Center)
Fujian police took activist Ji Sizun into custody on October 21, 2014, initially holding him in an extralegal “black jail” for seven days, before releasing him and then administratively detained him for 15 days on October 28 for “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” and “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” He had been picked up after publicly supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that began earlier that month, and while he was traveling to Beijing to attend a conference on land issues at the invitation of People’s Daily. Fuzhou police then criminally detained Ji on suspicion of the same crimes on November 17, 2014, and formally arrested him in December.
Ji was indicted in September 2015. The indictment against him charged that he had organized two protests by petitioners, one on August 11, 2014, outside the Department of Land and Resources of Fujian Province and another on September 10, 2014, outside the Fujian Province High People’s Court. A Fujian court put Ji on trial on December 15, 2015 and convicted him in April 2016. His lawyer argued that the case was flawed and that Ji’s legal rights had been seriously violated, but his complaints were ignored. Ji appealed his 4.5-year sentence, but the appeal was turned down in December 2016.
Ji Sizun’s health has seriously deteriorated during his incarceration, and he reportedly suffered a debilitating stroke and has not received sufficient medical treatment for a number of severe health conditions. Ji’s lawyer visited him in June 2016 and learnt that Ji’s health had become poor. Ji was exhausted, suffering from high blood pressure and low blood sugar, and was being held in a damp room and only provided with extremely poor quality food.
In January 2018, Ji’s lawyer, Lin Hongnan (林洪楠), received a letter from the activist indicating that he had been transferred to Jianxin Hospital (a facility connected to Putian Prison) on January 19, apparently after a stroke. Ji reportedly had a serious amount of blood in his stool and had undergone a gastroscopy. Prison officials notified Ji’s family on January 25 that Ji also had severe high blood pressure and diabetes as well as a brain stem issue. Ji’s family reported on February 2, 2018 that his condition had become critical: Ji was in-and-out of consciousness and needed an oxygen tank to breathe. His lawyer Ji Zhongjiu (纪中久) met with him briefly in the hospital on February 5 and submitted an urgent request for release on medical parole on February 7, but the application was not approved.
Lawyer Ji Zhongjiu visited the activist in the hospital on May 7, 2018, and learned that he had been bedridden since the stroke in January. Ji reportedly could not move his limbs on his left side of his body due to partial paralysis and was extremely weak, his speaking voice barely audible to lawyer Ji. Ji reportedly told the lawyer that the hospital was unable to provide him adequate medical treatment or nutritious food. Police officers closely monitored the visit, which lasted less than a half hour. As his poor health persisted, Ji underwent bowel surgery in late November 2018 and was not allowed to meet his lawyer until December 20, 2018, where the lawyer saw that Ji was still very weak. The 20-minute long meeting was monitored in person by police and recorded.
Ji Sizun, born in 1949, is a Fujian-based activist who had provided legal aid and offered legal training to petitioners for many years. In 2008, police detained Ji after he applied for a permit to demonstrate in an official Beijing Olympics “Protest Zone.” Ji was accompanied by a dozen domestic and foreign journalists when he first tried to apply. For this activity, he was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “forging official documents and seals.”