Human Rights Commissioner demands fair trials for 23 human rights defenders in China

09.07.2016 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (9 July):

One year ago today, on 9 July 2015, the Chinese security authorities carried out a nationwide crackdown against lawyers and other human rights defenders. Of more than 300 people arrested, 23 remain in detention, the majority of them accused of subversion or incitement to subversion. To date, the detainees have had no access to their lawyers, and their freely chosen attorneys have been replaced by lawyers appointed by the authorities. The deadline by which an action must be brought against them has been extended several times past the legal deadline.

As lawyers, and on the basis of applicable Chinese legislation, the individuals detained were working for the improvement of the rule of law. The authorities' actions violate their own legal order as well as rule‑of‑law principles and still give grounds for profound concern.

I therefore call upon the Chinese Government to grant the accused a public trial in keeping with the rule of law as soon as possible. This also means admitting representatives from foreign embassies to observe the trials.

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