Rights groups criticize conduct of dissident’s trial

March 19th, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 19 (DPA) Human rights organizations Wednesday criticized the trial of well-known Chinese dissident Hu Jia as unfair, saying his attorneys were prevented from properly defending him. The lawyers had 20 minutes during Tuesday’s four-hour trial in Beijing to present their case, were often cut off by court officials and were given just six days’ notification of the trial date, China Human Rights Defenders said.

In addition, Hu’s relatives and observers were barred from the proceedings, the rights group said.

Hu, 34, is charged with subversion and faces a prison sentence of up to five years if found guilty after he wrote six articles and gave two interviews to radio stations in which he criticized China’s political system and human rights record.

Reporters Without Borders called for the international community to raise its pressure on the government for Hu’s release.

Hu attorney Li Fanping said a verdict by Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court could come as early as next week.

Hu was detained Dec 27 but had spent most of the previous two years under house arrest or other forms of detention.

During his house arrest, Hu continued to post details of human rights abuses on the internet and frequently spoke to foreign journalists about the cases.

Hu is best known for his advocacy for the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS in China, winning several international awards.

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