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PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA:
SENTENCED ACTIVIST REMAINS AT RISK OF TORTURE

Update info:
9 Jan 2018
Country:
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Subject:
Wu Gan
Gender m/f: m
Period:
16 Feb 2018
Distribution date:
9 Jan 2018
UA No:
129/2015

Prominent Chinese activist Wu Gan (better known by his pen name Tufu, ‘The Butcher’) was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for ‘subverting state power’. In a statement released after the sentencing, Wu Gan stated he was tortured during detention and there are fears that he continues to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Wu Gan was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment and deprived of political rights for a further five years for ‘subverting state power’ by the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court on 26 December 2017. Shortly after being sentenced, Wu Gan released a statement saying that he had rejected the authorities’ request for him to plead guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence. According to his lawyer, Wu Gan was given a relatively harsh sentence in comparison to other activists due to his refusal to plead guilty.

Wu Gan and his lawyers had confirmed, prior to his sentencing, that he would appeal if found guilty. However, when the lawyers requested to meet Wu Gan immediately after he was sentenced, the detention centre refused their request and asked the lawyers to verify their eligibility to represent Wu Gan for the appeal. Consistently refused access by the prison officials, Wu Gan’s lawyers were only able to meet with him one day before the legally prescribed period for filing an appeal ends, on 5 January 2018.

In the same statement after his sentencing, Wu Gan named 13 officials who allegedly tortured him during detention. Prior to his closed court trial held on 14 August 2017, Wu Gan had been detained for over 28 months without access to his family. His lawyers have officially filed an appeal.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

China has a history of engaging in politically-motivated actions against well-known activists during the Christmas holidays. Prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia was detained on 27 December 2007. Liu Xiaobo, who would later win the Nobel Peace Prize but die in detention in 2017, was sentenced to 11 years on Christmas Day 2009 on the charge of "inciting subversion of state power”.

Wu Gan was first detained in May 2015 at a demonstration outside a courthouse while protesting against an alleged miscarriage of justice in a death penalty case from 2000. In July 2015, Wu Gan was formally arrested on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by the Xiamen City People’s Procuratorate. Wu Gan has been a highprofile activist in China since 2009 and is recognized for his cutting-edge tactics of connecting online and offline actions, raising awareness of human rights abuses, and raising funds online to support his activities.

Between 18 and 20 May 2015, Wu Gan participated in a demonstration outside the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court in Nanchang supporting a group of lawyers who were demanding access to court documents regarding an alleged case of miscarriage of justice from 2000, when four men were sentenced to death for robbery, rape and murder. Their lawyers claimed the men’s confessions were obtained through torture and sought to re-open the case, but up until that time they had been refused permission to review the court files. Despite a criminal suspect in another case admitting in 2011 that he committed the murder, the Procuratorate did not withdraw the charges against the four defendants.

Activists and human rights defenders continue to be systematically subjected to monitoring, harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention. Police detain increasing numbers of human rights defenders outside of formal detention facilities, sometimes without access to a lawyer for long periods, exposing the detainees to the risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Further information on UA: 129/15 Index: ASA 17/7674/2018 Issue Date: 5 January 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in English, Chinese or your own language:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Wu Gan as he has been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly;
  • Pending his release, ensure that Wu Gan has regular, unrestricted access to family and lawyers of his choice, and is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment;
  • Conduct a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into the alleged torture against Wu Gan and bring those responsible to justice.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 16 FEBRUARY 2018 TO:
Director
Tianjin Municipal No.1 Detention Centre
Dabianzhuang, Zhongbeizhen,
Xiqingqu, Tianjin Shi, 300112
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 22 2753 5320 (Chinese only)
Salutation: Dear Director

Minister of Public Security
Zhao Kezhi
Ministry of Public Security
14 Dong Chang’anjie
Dongchengqu, Beijing Shi 100741
People's Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 6626 2114 (in Chinese only)
Email: gabzfwz@mps.gov.cn
Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:
President
Xi Jinping
Zhongnanhai
Xichang’anjie
Xichengqu, Beijing Shi 100017
People’s Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 63070900
Email: english@mail.gov.cn

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update of UA 129/15. Further information: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/7221/2017/en/