23 November 2017
GENEVA, 23 November 2017 (Issued as received) – A group of United Nations human rights experts* has appealed to the Government of China to unconditionally release Jiang Tianyong, a human rights lawyer jailed for two years after being found guilty of inciting subversion of the State’s power.
“Mr. Jiang’s trial clearly fell short of international standards and his conviction represents an unfair and arbitrary punishment of a human rights lawyer and defender, whose only crime was to exercise his rights to free speech and to defend human rights,” said the experts.
“Domestic judicial procedures should be in compliance with China’s international human rights obligations,” they added.
“We condemn the verdict and urge the Chinese Government to release Mr. Jiang
immediately and unconditionally.”
Mr. Jiang, whose wife and daughter are in exile in the United States, was an outspoken defender of his fellow human rights lawyers who were arrested in an unprecedented crackdown in July 2015. He was disappeared on 21 November 2016 and held in secret detention for more than nine months. The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who met with Mr. Jiang during his visit to China in August last year, had expressed concern that his enforced disappearance may have occurred, at least in part, in reprisal for his cooperation with the UN during his visit to China.
Mr. Jiang was found guilty of the incitement charge on 21 November 2017 by the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court after a supposed confession in August. The experts had previously expressed concern that his confession may have been coerced by the use of torture, in contravention of the Chinese Criminal Procedures Law and international human rights standards.
The experts have been in contact with the Chinese Government on several occasions to raise their concern.
*The UN experts: Mr. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights country page: China
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