Full text in English: http://www.evernote.com/l/Aj5Yo5RPHlFEqbitrgNz5Owa4LgE9wic…/
** 20 國家律師公會/團體, 9 位知名法律學者, 31各國法律工作者, 5位法律學生 聯署
** Cosignatories Include 20 Bar Associations & Lawyers Organisations, 9 renowned Law Academics, 31 Legal Practitioners and 5 Law Students (HK)
An Open Letter by Legal Professionals To President Xi Jinping
On the Occasion of the anniversary of the 709 Crackdown
President of the People’s Republic of China Zhongnanhai,
No. 174 Xi Chang’an Jie,
Beijing 100017 China
9 July 2016
Re: Due Process for Lawyers in Detention
Dear President Xi Jinping,
On the occasion of the anniversary of the arrests and detention of human rights lawyers and defenders, which started on 9 July 2015 (referred to in the media as the “709 crackdown”), we express our continued concern regarding the situation of our colleagues who are still in detention.
Today, 23 individuals are held under formal arrest, nine of them human rights lawyers, one law firm staff and 13 human rights defenders.
We note these cases in particular because of the international attention they have attracted and the significant implications they have for the rule of law and exercise of the legal profession in China.
As legal practitioners from around the world, we support and embrace the universal values underpinning human rights and the rule of law, and we aim for the improvement of the situation for lawyers and human rights defenders and access to justice for all. It is in this light that we wish to remind you of your continuous pledges, Mr. President, to uphold the rule of law in China.
We are, however, disturbed by the many reports on the violations of national law and international human rights law in the handling of the cases implicated in the 709 crackdown, to which the Chinese government has so far not granted any clarification or explanation. They include:
1. The use of national security-related crimes. The charges made against the lawyers and legal assistants fall under broadly defined national security-related crimes, thereby suspending their rights to due process, subjecting them to extended detention periods for investigation and the deprivation of access to counsel.
2. The lack of access to self-selected defense counsel and right to visitation of families since the detentions started one year ago. It is of serious concern to learn that six months have passed since their formal arrests, and none of the detained lawyers and their assistants has been able to meet with their defense counsel and family. Lack of access undermines the possibility of verifying that no torture or inhumane treatment of the detainees has taken place and impedes a proper legal representation during the investigation phase.
3. Police intervention into the selection and appointment of defense counsel. It has been verified that family members received warnings for contacting lawyers they would have preferred to represent the detained; or were coerced into dismissing the defense counsel they had previously appointed. In such instances, preferred defense counsel were verbally informed by police officers that they were dismissed during attempts to meet with their clients.
4. Police pressure to obtain confessions. Family members of lawyer Wang Quanzhang were requested by police officers on 28 April 2015 to “persuade” Wang to confess his “mistakes” on video. We are concerned that the police are exerting undue pressure to secure confessions and self-incriminating statements. This approach casts doubt on the integrity of the evidence collection procedure during police investigations. This is particularly concerning in the Wang case, in which apart from the confession video, we understand that there appears to be insufficient evidence for the charges.
5. Family members, friends and defense counsel of the detained are heavily impacted by the proceedings against the accused. They are subjected to strict surveillance, being monitored by state actors, summoned to appear before the police, and harassed.
6. The Procuratorate and the Court have failed to uphold due process. These bodies have ignored or rejected inquiries and complaints submitted by defendants’ defense counsel and/or family members to ensure that due process is followed.
We, the below signed, are concerned that the legal grounds for these practices are either absent, weak or arbitrary.
Therefore, we call on you as the President of the People’s Republic of China to dedicate your personal attention to ensure that the country honors its commitments to the Constitution, national law, the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and international conventions on human rights protection, and consider taking the following actions:
Release all lawyers and others unlawfully detained;
Ensure access to counsel of one’s own choosing for all those arrested or held as criminal suspects;
Cease all interference into the families’ appointment of, and consultation with lawyers, and lift all measures that hinder their enjoyment of rights as citizens;
Ensure that the rights of those detained, including their right to adequate medical treatment and visitation rights, are fully enforced.
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
Bar Associations & Lawyers Organisations
Amsterdam Bar Association
Association of European Democratic Lawyers (AED)
Avocats.Be, l’ordre des Barreaux Francophones et Germanophone de Belgique Avocats/ Francophone and German-speaking Bars of Belgium Lawyers, Belgium
Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
Budzowska Fiutowski i Partnerzy. Radcowie Prawni, Poland
Barreau de Paris/ Paris Bar, France
Consejo General de la Abogacía Española/ Spanish National Bar, Spain
Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)
Human Rights Committee of the Taipei Bar Association, Taiwan
Human Rights Now (HRN), Japan
Institut des droits de l’homme des avocats européens/ European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE)
International Association of People’s Lawyers, Australian branch
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ),
International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger, France
Lawyers for Lawyers, Netherlands
Progressive Lawyers Group, Hong Kong
Swedish Bar Association, Sweden
Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network, Taiwan
Union Internationale des Avocats/ International Association of Lawyers (UIA), France
Vereniging Sociale Advocatuur Nederland/ Union of Social Lawyers Netherlands (VSAN), Netherlands
Boehringer, Gill, Honorary Associate of School of Law, Macquarie University, Australia
Bowring, Bill, Professor of School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
Cohen, Jerome A., Professor of NYU School of Law
Higashizawa, Yasushi, Professor of Law, Maiji Gakuin University, Japan
Kavanagh, Patrick, Professor (retired), Law School Macquarie University, Australia
Perez-Bustillo, Camilo, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, Research Professor of Human Rights and Law at the University of Dayton
Pils, Eva, Reader in Transnational Law of Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, UK
Russell, Stuart, Co-director of International Association of People’s Lawyers Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers
Tseng, Chien-yuan, Associate Professor, Chung Hua University, Taiwan
Attias, Dominique, France, Vice Chair of the Paris Bar
Cheung, Alvin, Hong Kong
Cheng, Winnie, Hong Kong
Chow, Tonyee, Hong Kong
Choy, Ki, Hong Kong
Clancey, John, Hong Kong
Daly, Mark, Hong Kong
Deng, Earl, Hong Kong
Favreau, Bertrand, France, Chairperson of IDHAE
Fisher, Tony, UK, Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee at the Law Society of England & Wales, London, United Kingdom
Grewal, Ankit, India
Gaasbeek, Hans, Netherlands, Director Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer
Gurses, Dundar, Netherlands
Ho, Duncan, Hong Kong
Jorvina, Josue, Jr., the Philippines
Kwan, Janice, Hong Kong
Lam. Mark, Hong Kong
Langenberg, J.M., Netherlands
Leung, Wilson, Hong Kong
Li, Billy, Hong Kong
Lu, Besson, Taiwan, Senior Partner of Baker & McKenzie – Taiwan
Man, Jonathan, Hong Kong
Ng, Chris, Hong Kong
Ng, Irene, Hong Kong
Ng, Leo, Hong Kong
Ng, Senia, Hong Kong
Poon, Debora, Hong Kong
Shek, Randy, Hong Kong
Tam, Jeffrey, Hong Kong
Wong, Linda, Hong Kong
Yam, Kevin, Hong Kong
Chan, Kristine, Hong Kong
Ip, Jonathan, Hong Kong
Koon, Jay, Hong Kong
Leung, Yvonne, Hong Kong
Yip, Claudia, Hong Kong