VOA Chinese May 18, 2012 Journalist: Ye Bing 叶兵 from Washington Translated by ChinaAid
China Shandong blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng (photo)
Two lawyers authorized by the family of Chen Kegui, the nephew of China Shandong blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng, for the case of him being charged with intentional homicide, was denied visit of Chen Kegui on Friday by the Yinan police. The police said that Yinan Legal Assistance Center had appointed two other lawyers for Chen Kegui. But the responsible person of the Center indicated that no lawyers from the Center were involved in this case, nor did they know about Cheng Kegui’s case. Chen Guangcheng called the Yinan authorities’ behavior vile and shameless.
Family-authorized lawyers suffered a setback in Yinan
Ding Xikui and Si Weijiang, two lawyers who arrived at Yinan County from Beijing and Shanghai respectively to take up Chen Kegui’s case, made a statement at 3pm on Friday in which they quotedYinan police: “Chen applied to the Detention Center before May 10 for legal assistance and Yinan Legal Assistance Center had appointed him two lawyers. So the police will not arrange for lawyers hired by (Chen’s wife) Liu Fang to visit Chen”. In their statement, the two lawyers expressed serious doubts about what the police told them and expressed concerns that Chen Kegui might be tortured.
Si Weijiang, a lawyer authorized by Chen Kegui’s family (Photo)
Legal Assistance Center denied knowledge of the case.
At 6pm Friday, a journalist from Voice of America dialed the number of Mr. Yin who is in charge of Yinan legal Assistance Center.
Journalist: About Chen Kegui’s case, are there two lawyers or a certain lawyer from your Center…?
Mr. Yin: No. (We are) not involved in this case.
Journalist: Not by now? Are you in charge of the Center?
Mr. Yin: Yes.
Journalist: What’s your family name please?
Mr. Yin: It’s Yin. (We are) not involved in this case.
Journalist: You haven’t heard about Chen Kegui’s case?
Mr. Yin: No, no. We don’t know about it here.
Lawyers said Chen Kegui was deprived of right of defense
Ding Xikui and Si Weijiang, the two lawyers authorized by Chen Kegui’s wife Liu Fang, are both members of a lawyer community who volunteered to provide Chen Kegui with legal assistance. In the statement they made after being refused by Yinan police to visit their client, they said it wasuntil 10 am Friday morning were they informed by a police officer with the surname Gao, who is in charge of Chen Kegui’s case, that Chen Kegui had applied for legal assistance. But this officer did not show them any paperwork regarding it.
The statement also said that “at 11 am, May 16, Ding Xikui and Si Weijiang got to Yinan Public Security Bureau Crime Investigation Team to submit legal paperwork, which was received by the police. An officer with the surname Wang and XieLiwei both told them that since the person in charge of the case was on a business trip, visits would need to be arranged after his return.
Lawyers claimed being tricked by the police
The two lawyers believed that prior to their submission of paperwork, the legal assistance lawyers were not in place at all. If they existed, Yinan police would not have had to refuse to arrange visits using the excuse that the person in charge of the case was on a business trip in Henan. After being refused to visit their client byYinan police, Ding Yikui and Si Weijiang expressed deep regrets and frustration over Yinanpolice’s practice suspected of unlawfully depriving Chen Kegui of his legal right of defense. At the same time, they extended compassion and forgiveness to Yinan police for pulling the trick on lawyers, believing that it came out of an unhealthy mentality.
Lawyer Ding Xikui who was waiting for his flight to return to Beijing emphasized to Voice of America on Friday night the importance for lawyers to handle cases according to law. He said, “It is not that we have to take up this case. The main thing is, be you authorized lawyers or appointed lawyers, you ought to handle the case according to the regulations of law and lawyers’ professional ethics.”
Prior to this, lawyer Liu Weiguo from Shandong Jinan volunteered to conduct a defense of innocence for Chen Kegui on the basis of legitimate self-defense, but the authorities immediately limited he liberty and as a result he was not able to start his defense work for this case. Lawyer Liu told Voice of America on Thursday that he was concerned Yinan police would likely force Chen Kegui to accept lawyers appointed by authorities to handle his case.
Chen Guangcheng called the local authority’s behavior despicable
Lawyer Liu Weiguo revealed that at present Chen Kegui’s wife Liu Fang was in hiding at a safe place to avoid the harassment and intimidation of Yinan authorities. She cannot be reached by the outside world for now.
On Friday night, after hearing updates on the case including the setbacks lawyers Ding Xikui and Si Weijiang underwent at Yinan, Chen Guangcheng at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital said the excuse given by Yinan police was a fraud. He also called Yinan authority’s behavior “shameless”.