|Photo: Zhang Kai|
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Beijing—Oct. 20, 2015) The defense lawyer for imprisoned human rights lawyer Zhang Kai released a letter on Oct. 16, urging the Beijing Lawyers Association (BLA) to support and pay attention to Zhang Kai, a member of the organization, while he faces arbitrary detention.
Zhang Lei, the Beijing-based rights lawyer representing Zhang Kai, addressed his public letter to BLA President Gao Zhicheng. In the letter, Zhang Lei stated that his purpose was “…to offer a reminder that the Beijing Lawyers Association is meant to function as an institute to raise concern for, protect and safeguard the interests of lawyers like Zhang Kai, who is a member of the association” and to “urge them to fulfill this duty.”
The letter pointed out that the Beijing Xinqiao law firm where Zhang Kai works had sent a written report to BLA, defending Zhang Kai’s actions. The report seemed to be entirely ignored, as BLA has given neither action nor attention to the case.
Zhang Lei also mentioned an instance in which a BLA vice president, in an interview with CCTV, spoke about lawyers in conflict with law enforcement and made remarks which were “contrary to the basic legal principles regarding presumption of innocence.”
The letter goes on to remind the BLA that evidence used by investigative departments is not always completely correct, as shown by the existence of many sensationalized and unjust cases in China.
The letter urged Gao to “remind the Beijing Lawyers Association and related personnel that they cannot believe some of the materials and rhetoric that public security departments provide. If the qualitative material provided by the public security bureau was always all absolutely correct, the appalling cases we hear of would be corrected, and the unjust, fake and false charges in these cases would not exist.”
Zhang Kai was detained on Aug. 25 and extra-judicially sentenced to six months detention in an undisclosed location and denied access to legal representation. His whereabouts are unknown at this time. Recently, his sister released an account detailing the forcible search of Zhang Kai’s Beijing home by officers from Wenzhou, Zhejiang, in the early morning of Oct. 17.
China Aid frequently provides legal aid in cases like this one in order to encourage individuals facing unjust government persecution.