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Chen Guangcheng’s Nephew Jailed for Activist’s Fleeing to U.S.

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 11/30/12 2:23 PM

International

The nephew of Chen Guangcheng has been sentenced to 39 months in prison for supposedly injuring a Chinese government agent who raided his house in the aftermath of Chen’s escape to the United States.

Chinese officials have sentenced Chen’s nephew to three years in jail and the punishment is seen as retaliation for his uncle’s escape.

Hu Jia, an activist friend of Chen Guangcheng’s, reported the conviction and sentencing on his Twitter account, the Washington Post reported.

Hu, interviewed by telephone, said he had spoken with a Chen relative allowed inside the courtroom in Linyi city, in eastern Shandong province. The relative told him that Chen Kegui had said he would not appeal and that he would pay compensation to the official who was most badly injured in the melee. Hu said that those statements, if accurate, suggest Chen might feel like “a hostage” of Shandong officials.

“What Chen Kegui said in court is so surprising,” Hu said. “I don’t think a normal person would say he wouldn’t appeal. He must be brainwashed or be under big pressure.”

Chen’s father, Chen Guangfu, the brother of the blind activist, was notified only late Friday morning that his son’s trial would begin at 2 p.m. He was not allowed inside the courtroom during the proceedings but waited outside, under the eye of several plainclothes policemen. Family members were not permitted to hire a lawyer for Chen Kegui, who was represented at the trial by a government-appointed attorney.

“My son is innocent. Three years and three months is too heavy for him,” the elder Chen said. “This is the revenge of the government on Chen Guangcheng. . . . Chen Kegui has replaced Chen Guangcheng to serve this sentence.”

In May, Chen Kegui was formally arrested and charged with “intentional homicide” for his role in defending himself from guards and officials who stormed his home in the aftermath of Chen’s escape from house arrest.

The formal arrest notification with the charge of “intentional homicide” was delivered to Chen Kegui’s mother, Ren Zongju. It was executed by the Yinan County People’s Procuratorate and the Yinan Public Security Bureau.

ChinaAid, a human rights group supporting Chen, informed LifeNews of the arrest at the time:

According to one of Chen Kegui’s lawyers, Liu Weiguo, who himself has been put under house arrest after taking up Chen Kegui’s case, the charge stems from a government raid on the home of Chen Guangcheng’s brother, Chen Guangfu, on the night of April 26, after local authorities discovered that Chen Guangcheng had escaped from 19 months of extrajudicial house arrest.

At about 11:30 on April 26, about two dozen Yinan county officials and hired thugs broke into Chen Guangfu’s home. None of the government officials showed any IDs. The raid lasted through the night and did not end until nearly dawn on April 27.

Chen Guangfu’s son, Chen Kegui, was awakened by the noise of his parents being beaten up.  He grabbed a knife and walked out of his room, and was immediately attacked and beaten up as well. In self-defense, he wounded three of his attackers, all of whom were government officials. He is now being held in the Yinan county detention center.

At least one lawyer who tried to approach Chen’s village on Thursday May 10 seeking to meet with Chen Kegui’s parents was kidnapped by local authorities.

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“We are appalled by the immediate vengeance of the local authorities, who are acting in this way to retaliate against Chen Guancheng,” said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu.

In a May 11 phone conversation with ChinaAid, Chen Guangcheng said, “I appeal to the central government to take honest and credible concrete measures to stop these illegal and barbaric actions of the Shandong authorities against my family members, including my nephew Chen Kegui, my brother Chen Guangfu and my sister-in-law Ren Zongju. There is no doubt that the Shandong authorities are acting out of revenge because of my escape from my house.”

He called the charges “illegal and barbaric.”

Fu said, “Chen Kegui cannot get a fair trial. The local government will make him pay for their incompetence in letting Chen Guangcheng escape. This is a test of the rule of law and the government’s promise to investigate corrupt and brutal local officials. ChinaAid calls on the international community, and especially the U.S. government to speak up on behalf of Chen’s family members who are being persecuted solely for their relationship with Chen Guangcheng.”