(New York) – Amnesty International today called the sentencing in China of Chen Kegui, nephew of exiled blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, "appalling,” saying it was obvious retaliation for his uncle's escape from house arrest last spring.
Chen Kegui is understood to have received three years and three months imprisonment from a Shangdong court in eastern China.
"Once again, China is revealing its complete disdain for the rule of law, this time by retaliating against Chen Kegui for his uncle's escape from house arrest last spring," said Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA, who led an Amnesty International-sponsored conversation with Chen Guangcheng Thursday evening in with supporters in New York. "These are appalling trumped up charges against Chen Kegui, whose extended family is again suffering at the hands of China's authorities."
During the N.Y. conversation Nossel hosted, Chen described how the letters of support he received from Amnesty activists all over the world kept his spirits up during his years in jail and house arrest.
"Amnesty advocates worked with Chen — a true hero — in his fight to win rights for China's poor and women and to demand his freedom when it was denied. Now, we will keep this fight going to demand Chen Kegui's freedom," Nossel said.
Chen was tried by the Yinan County Court in Linyi, on charges of "inflicting intentional injury," which can result in a sentence of less than three years imprisonment, or between three to 10 years in serious cases.
His family, who witnessed the scene, said Chen acted in self-defense after unidentified intruders forced their way into their home. They have not heard from him since he was detained on April 30 and have received no information about how he has been treated or what his condition is. The family was informed about the trial just hours before it started. They were not called as witnesses or allowed to attend.
During the trial, Chen was represented by a court-appointed lawyer. His family-appointed lawyers have not been able to meet with him since he was detained. Having been denied the right to a lawyer of his choice, Chen can be presumed to have been unable to present his case effectively, and it is not clear whether he is able to appeal.
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Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.