China: Sentencing of Mr. Liu Feiyue

31/01/2019
Urgent Appeal

CHN 002 / 0119 / OBS 009
Sentencing / Arbitrary detention
China
January 31, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD) about the sentencing of Mr. Liu Feiyue, founder and Director of the website Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, which published information on human rights violations, especially abuses against activists and dissidents in psychiatric detention facilities [1].

According to the information received, on January 29, 2019, the Suizhou City Intermediate People’s Court in Hubei Province found Mr. Liu Feiyue guilty of “inciting subversion of State power” and sentenced him to five years in prison with deprivation of political rights for three years, along with a 1,010,000 RMB (approx. 150,000 USD) fine.

Suizhou police initially detained Mr. Liu Feiyue on November 17, 2016, and formally arrested him a month later, on December 23, 2016. Mr. Liu was allowed to meet with his lawyers for the first time only on May 25, 2017, after police had previously denied all visits from his lawyers on “national security” grounds. On December 6, 2017, Mr. Liu was indicted on charges of “inciting subversion”. Mr. Liu was also charged with accepting funding from overseas” [2].

In April 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion that declared Mr. Liu Feiyue’s detention arbitrary [3].

On August 7, 2018, Mr. Liu was finally put on trial before the Suizhou City Intermediate People’s Court, after being held for 20 months in pre-trial detention. Mr. Liu’s supporters were not allowed into the courtroom for the hearing, and were detained by the police outside the courthouse and at train and bus stations in Suizhou, or prevented from leaving their homes.

At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Liu Feiyue remains detained at Suizhou City No. 1 Detention Center in Hubei Province.

The Observatory strongly condemns the conviction, sentencing, and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Liu Feiyue, which seem to be merely aimed at punishing him for his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities, and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the People’s Republic of China to urge them to:
 
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Liu Feiyue and all human rights defenders in China;
 
ii. Repeal the guilty verdict and release Mr. Liu Feiyue immediately and unconditionally, as his detention is arbitrary and it only seems to aim at punishing him for his human rights activities;
 
iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Liu Feiyue and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance, and put an end to reprisals against family members seeking justice on behalf of detained or disappeared human rights defenders;
 
iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;
 
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by China.

Addresses:

Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 659 611 09 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Email: premier@mail.gov.cn
Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216, Email: gabzfwz@mps.gov.cn
H.E. Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 793 70 14, E-mail: chinamission_gva@mfa.gov.cn
H.E. Mr. QU XING, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32-2-7792895; Email: chinaemb_be@mfa.gov.cn

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of China in your respective countries.
 
***
Geneva-Paris, January 31, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.  
 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] https://msguancha.com/
[2] The indictment accused Mr. Liu of “six major criminal offenses” and cited as evidence of “inciting subversion” his writings and publications of reports of human rights abuses on the Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch website. The indictment also listed applying and accepting overseas funding to support the NGO’s operations as a “criminal act”. An earlier charge of “leaking State secrets” was dropped from the indictment. For more information on the case, see https://www.nchrd.org/2016/12/liu-feiyue/
[3] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/Opinions/Session81/A_HRC_WGAD_2018_22.pdf

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