I am?William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.
I would like to draw your attention to the following case.
On 11 May 2015, human rights defender Mr Liu Jiacai was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on charges of ‘inciting subversion of state power’, by a court in Yichang City, Hubei Province.
Liu Jiacai is a democracy activist who, prior to his detention, had organised gatherings with other human rights defenders in Yichang City to discuss legal rights and human rights.
Liu Jiacai had been awaiting sentencing since his trial on 23 July 2014. He had been formally arrested on 18 September 2013, after being ‘criminally detained’ on 12 August 2013. This followed the expiration of ten days’ administrative detention ordered by the authorities in Yichang City on 2 August 2013, on grounds of ‘disrupting public order’ based on writings he had posted online. It is believed that the charge against him relates to Liu Jiacai’s support of the New Citizen’s Movement, a loose network of activists which has campaigned for greater transparency among Chinese Communist Party officials, greater equality within the education system, as well as for Constitutional government.
Liu Jiacai’s detention in 2013 followed months of harassment and house arrest of the human rights defender. In 2012, Liu Jiacai’s employer was pressured into firing him from his job as a result of his persistent work in the defence of human rights. He was jailed for two years in 2001 for ‘inciting subversion of state power’ in response to his human rights activities, and faced state harassment as a result of his efforts to commemorate those who died in the government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He first came to the attention of the authorities in 1998 when he began to organise labourers in a factory he worked in to defend their rights and organise independent workers’ unions.
I express my grave concern at the sentencing of human rights defender Liu Jiacai, as I believe it to be solely motivated by his work to defend and promote human rights in China.
I urge the authorities in China to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Liu Jiacai as Front Line believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;
2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in China are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights defender & ?Freelance Journalist
Email: [email protected]