Lawyer Tortured for Defending Falun Gong Clients
Yet another human rights lawyer in China has been arrested because he has chosen to defend Falun Gong practitioners' right to freedom of belief.
Attorney Wang Yonghang, who is from northeast China's harbour city Dalian, has taken the defense for several Falun Gong practitioners. He insists on upholding his profession’s code of ethics, and has refused to yield to the regime's unofficial policy, which has mandated that there be “no legal defense of innocence for Falun Gong [adherents].”
Wang last appeared in court on June 16. The Dalian police arrested him on July 4. (At the time of this report, his family and a lawyer had been unable to meet with him.) The authorities denied all family visits with the pretext that his arrest involved ”confidential information.” Wang sustained injuries from the arrest, including a fracture to his right ankle, which has since become infected, due to lack of treatment. This is a cause of great concern to his family, with his 80-year old mother reportedly “worried sick over it.”
In 2008, Wang had an open letter published, addressing the regime leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. In the letter, He stressed that the charges against Falun Gong practitioners were illegal and unconstitutional.
Wang’s wife, Yu Xiaoyan told the Epoch Times that Wang believed as a lawyer, he had an obligation to defend Falun Gong practitioners who are persecuted and tortured. She has demanded that the authorities release Wang immediately.
Executive Secretary Patrick Poon of the China Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group headquartered in Hong Kong expressed his view in an interview with Radio Free Asia. ”We feel that Wang was arrested because he, as a human rights lawyer, is very involved in Falun Gong cases,” Pan said. ”Officers from the Domestic Security Brigade arrested Wang on July 4, and the following day he was sustaining a comminuted fracture of his ankle. We demand an investigation into his torture, and that the responsible parties be identified. Though Wang‘s lawyer has filed a complaint, we still hope that the international community and the bar will look into his case.”
According to his wife, Wang took on several cases defending Falun Gong practitioners before his arrest. She said that plainclothes police would follow them, and they had also received phone calls harassing and threatening them.
On July 21, Wang’s lawyer, Lan Xuezhi told the Epoch Times that the case did not involve any state secrets. ”I have never seen a case like this. I waited in Dalian City for a week, and I did not even get to see my client. The authorities kept putting things off,” said Lan.
Lan added: “The authorities were obviously biased in the process. I truly feel it is not easy being Falun Gong practitioners. No one in the judicial system follows the law.”
Read the original Chinese article.