UN calls out China on Nobel winner arrest
Hong Kong - A United Nations panel has called for the release of jailed
Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife,
saying their detention breaks international law.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention criticised Liu's pre-trial
detention, saying he was held "incommunicado" and denied access to a
lawyer before being sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2009 on charges of
The writer, now 55-years-old, had co-authored Charter 08, a manifesto that
quickly spread on the internet calling for political reform and greater rights
in Communist-ruled China.
The UN panel, an independent body made up of human rights experts from five
countries, urged Beijing to "take the necessary steps to remedy the
situation, which include the immediate release and adequate reparation to Mr
"The government has not shown in this case a justification for the
interference with Mr Liu Xiaobo's political free speech," it said in a
written opinion dated May 5 and released on Monday by legal rights group
The paper said China was "in violation of its international human
rights obligations", noting that Liu had just 14 minutes to defend himself
at his two-hour trial.
The panel also criticised the house arrest of Liu's wife, Liu Xia, saying
she "has the right to be brought promptly before a judge, and the right to
legal counsel". She was placed under house arrest after Liu was jailed.
Freedom Now founder Jared Genser called the UN decision a "critical
affirmation" that the couple's detention is a "flagrant violation"
of international law.
The group called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to join the call for
The decision to award Liu with the prestigious prize last year sparked fury
in Beijing, which equated the Oslo-based Nobel committee's decision with
China, which faced global criticism over the case, responded by cancelling
political dialogue with Norway and suspending talks on a free trade pact.