by Steven Ertelt
September 4, 2006
Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys for Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist who brought international attention to a brutal forced abortion campaign in this eastern China city, have appealed his conviction on bogus charges. Two weeks ago, Chen was found guilty on trumped up charges and he received a four year and four month jail sentence.
The August 24 verdict was meant to silence his exposure of how Linyi officials forced more than 10,000 women to have abortions or sterilizations to enforce the nation’s family planning policy allowing couples to have only one child.
Relatives of the women were beaten or threatened and jailed in some cases until they told authorities where to find some women who were hiding.
Chen’s attorneys were prevented from attending the trial and detained on fake charges as well.
Li Fangping, a Chen attorney, told AsiaNews that the sentenced should be overturned because “it was pronounced in a trial that had many unlawful procedures."
“All the evidence heard by the court cannot be accepted because it was obtained through torture," he explained. "Moreover, Xu Zhiyong, his lawyer, was arrested two days before the trial and replaced by two lawyers who had never met Chen.”
Li Jingsong, another lawyer assisting Chen, told the news service that attorneys presented the appeal on August 26 to the Linyi Intermediate People’s Court and submitted additional materials in the case on Friday.
“This trial was clearly an unlawful one in flagrant violation of the basic principles of criminal legal procedure,” the appeal states, according to Reuters. "The appellant has reason to believe that the so-called confessions provided by the prosecution were the product of coercion."
If the court accepts the case, a hearing would be held in one month.
"This was a serious violation of Chen’s legal rights,” Li told the Associated Press. "The trial was a gross injustice.”
Chen’s relatives said he couldn’t be responsible for the several hundred dollars in property damage resulting from a set of protests because he did not attend the rally. They indicated he was at home under house arrest from Linyi officials, at the time of the protests — which were held to object to his house arrest.
China’s Family Planning Agency eventually admitted that some government representatives “had carried out forced abortions and sterilizations in violation of citizens’ legal rights" but did nothing to punish the Linyi officials.
The Bush administration has called for Chen’s release on three separate occasions and State Department officials have said Chen’s detention and sentence were an abrogation of basic justice and human rights for the Chinese people.