China urged to stop persecuting lawyers

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Originally published by IANS on July 9, 2018

Beijing, Jul 9 (IANS): A Chinese human rights group on Monday urged the government to probe the unlawful persecution of Chinese human rights lawyers, including arbitrary arrests and torture.

Three years ago China had cracked down heavily on human rights lawyers, arresting more than 300, and since 2017 have revoked many licenses, reports Efe news.

“Perpetrators should be held to account for the Chinese government’s ongoing persecution of human rights lawyers,” The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), said in a statement.

Following mass arrests since 2015 under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, “no police officers or other government personnel have been investigated, much less criminally prosecuted, for their role in committing violations against these lawyers”.

According to the CHRD, these violations include “arbitrary detention on politicized charges of ‘subversion of state power’ or ‘inciting subversion'”, denial of access to a lawyer during detention, prolonged pre-trial detention, torture and retaliation against family members.

The lack of justice for victims and accountability on part of the authorities, who ordered or carried out the “arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, and acts of torture, have gone hand-in-hand with escalating persecution of lawyers since the crackdown was launched”, the statement added.

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