China frees human rights lawyer on bail - Amnesty

2017-05-10 18:44
Chen Guiqiu (C), the wife of detained human rights lawyer Xie Yang, meeting a foreign diplomat (R) with other wives of detained human rights lawyers. (File, AFP)

Chen Guiqiu (C), the wife of detained human rights lawyer Xie Yang, meeting a foreign diplomat (R) with other wives of detained human rights lawyers. (File, AFP)

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Beijing - China has freed a prominent human rights lawyer on bail, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, after he admitted to his crimes in what critics called a show trial.

Xie Yang, who had worked on cases considered politically sensitive by China's ruling Communist Party, was among hundreds of legal staff and activists detained in the so-called "709 crackdown" in 2015.

He pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of "inciting subversion of state power" during a one-day trial in central China.

The rights group said Xie was released on bail even though a verdict had not been announced, describing the sequence of events as "unusual".

"While it is a relief that Xie Yang is no longer in detention, it doesn't diminish the fact that he should never have been arrested in the first place," said Amnesty International's China researcher Patrick Poon.

However, neither Xie's wife nor his lawyers were able to confirm his release.

Torture claims 

Xie previously claimed that police had subjected him to "sleep deprivation, long interrogations, beatings, death threats, humiliations".

But he told Changsha Intermediate People's Court that authorities had upheld his rights and that he had not been subjected to torture of any kind.

The US and the EU have voiced concern over his case.

Eleven countries, including Canada, Australia and Switzerland, have cited Xie's case in a letter to Beijing criticising China's detention practices.

Xie's wife has fled China and is currently in the US where she said she was hoping to obtain asylum for herself and their two daughters.

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