Chinese civil rights lawyers banned from practicing

May 8th, 2010 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, May 8 (DPA) China revoked the right-to-practice licenses of two civil rights lawyers, sparking condemnation from civil society organisations Saturday.
A notice posted on the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice website late Friday announced that the licenses of Tang Jitian and Liu Wei have been revoked after they “disobeyed the instructions of court personnel and disrupted courtroom order”.

Tang, Liu and human rights groups condemned the decision as an affront to China’s frequently stated goal of improving the country’s legal system.

“We will exhaust all legal avenues to fight, to pursue our appeal. We will not retreat, and will file a complaint against the (bureau’s) illegal actions,” Tang was quoted as saying by Human Rights in China.

Tang told the organisation that the presiding judge had violated the court rules by allowing an unidentified observer to videotape an April 2009 trial, and pounded the gavel loudly during their defence statements.

Tang and Liu have worked on several sensitive cases, including representing members of the banned Falun Gong group and parents of victims of the 2008 melamine-tainted milk powder scandal.

Others believed the ban may be a warning to other Chinese lawyers who filed a complaint in 2009 about the annual sum required for the lawyers’ license registration.

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