Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, and François Croquette, French Ambassador for Human Rights, issued the following joint statement today (15 May) regarding the legal proceedings against Chinese civil rights lawyer Yu Wensheng:
Yu Wensheng has worked to promote the rule of law and human rights in China for many years and has represented other human rights lawyers and defenders in his legal practice.
We are very concerned about the fact that Yu Wensheng was denied access to the lawyers he had chosen while in detention, that the trial was held behind closed doors and that his family, in particular his wife, was not notified in time to attend the trial.
We call upon the Chinese institutions to conduct this trial in accordance with rule of law principles and international standards and to act upon the declared aim of the Chinese leadership to strengthen the rule of law.
We appeal to the Chinese side to grant close family members and the public access to the trial as observers once more. Unfortunately, independent observers have recently been prevented from gaining access to legal proceedings in most cases.
Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng has been held in detention since January 2018. After more than 500 days in custody, his trial commenced in Xuzhou on 9 May. Yu Wensheng was awarded the Franco‑German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law in December 2018.