China rejects web dissidents' appeal

A Chinese court has turned down the appeals of four internet dissidents who were sentenced to up to 10 years in jail for posting their views on social issues online.

    Defendants set up a study group to discuss social problems

    "The sentence has been upheld and the appeals refused for all of them", Lu Kun, wife of Yang Zili, one of the plaintiffs, said on Monday.

    "They protested against the sentence. They shouted at the judge that they were innocent and told him they were protesting against political persecution".
     
    The judge told them to submit a protest in writing.

    Xu Wei, Yang Zili, Zhang Honghai, and Jin Haike were sentenced for subverting state power five months ago.

    They were appealing on the basis that three key witnesses who testified against them in the original trial had since retracted their statements.
     
    Their original statements had been made while they were in detention.

    "The sentence is unfair. This is a case of injustice. They are all innocent," said Lu, who was allowed into the Beijing First Intermediate Court to hear the appeal.

    The court refused to comment.

    Xu, a former journalist and Jin, a young intellectual, were sentenced to 10 years in jail while the two others received eight-year sentences.
     
    The four were arrested in March 2001 after they set up the "New Youth Association," an intellectual study group that discussed China's growing social problems, including rural issues and widening inequality.

    The group was disbanded three to four months after it was formed and the arrests came soon after that, Lu said.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    FGM: The last cutting season

    FGM: The last cutting season

    Maasai women are spearheading an alternative rite of passage that excludes female genital mutilation.

    'No girl is safe': The mothers ironing their daughters' breasts

    Victims of breast ironing: It felt like 'fire'

    Cameroonian girls are enduring a painful daily procedure with long lasting physical and psychological consequences.

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    For Ethiopia, a new dam holds the promise of much-needed electricity; for Egypt, the fear of a devastating water crisis.