Detained Student Activist Released!
After more than 13 years since Huang Zhiqiang, Fang Chunping, Cheng Fagen and Cheng Lihe were originally sentenced to death, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court has announced a not-guilty verdict. All four men were immediately released after a closed-door retrial on 30 November 2016.
Hindu fisherman Rasraj Das was granted bail on 16 January 2017 after spending more than two months in jail for allegedly posting an “offensive” image on Facebook. Although police have stated he was not responsible for posting the image, the charge of “hurting religious sentiment” has not been dropped. His next court date has not been set.
With less than a week left in his term, former President Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence on 17 January. While this welcome move was long overdue, the US government must now investigate the potential human rights violations that she exposed.
Cuban graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado Machado (‘El Sexto’) was released over the weekend. Amnesty International had considered him a prisoner of conscience.