Contact: Sharon Singh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-509-8579
(Washington, D.C.) — Amnesty International today urges China to immediately release a disabled housing activist, calling the jail sentence, based on spurious charges, unacceptable.
Ni Yulan, who suffers from chronic health problems and has been in a wheelchair since being tortured by Chinese police in 2002, was handed a two year and eight-month sentence for "picking quarrels and making trouble" and "fraud." Her husband, Dong Jiqin, has been jailed for two years on similar charges.
"These sentences are completely unacceptable, and have been imposed solely because Ni Yulan has campaigned for the past decade, at great risk to herself, to protect human rights in China," said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International's deputy director for Asia Pacific. "The authorities must release her and her husband immediately and unconditionally."
Police detained Ni Yulan, who has long campaigned against forced evictions in China, and her husband on April 7, 2011. During her year-long detention, Ni Yulan's health has worsened.
The couple's trial took place on December 29 at Beijing's Xicheng District People's Court. Despite being "public," the court did not allow observers, including lawyers Wang Yu and Bao Longjun and Dong Jiqin's younger brother. Ni Yulan spent much of the trial lying in a hospital bed, needing a respirator to breathe.
"The charges against Ni Yulan and Dong Jiqin are totally unwarranted and their trial was unfair," said Baber. "The continued persecution of the couple raises questions about whether China is serious about becoming a country ruled by law, as the leaders have suggested, or a country ruled by fear and intimidation."
Over the past 10 years, Chinese authorities have repeatedly subjected Ni Yulan to harassment, detention and torture. In 2002, they revoked Ni Yulan's license to practice law as retaliation for her human rights work. She has now been jailed three times.
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.