UN urged to act on Chinese lawyer

Group of global lawyers petition UN over disappearance of outspoken rights activist.

    Human rights group have previously protested the disappearance of Gao [EPA]

    Torture claims

    Gao has taken on cases involving the banned Falun Gong spiritual group and defended cases against the government involving alleged police corruption, land seizures and religious freedom.

    The petition said the the government has failed to officially arrest and charge Gao with a crime and has not notified his family where he is being held - all violations of Chinese law.

    Signatories to the document include Jerome Cohen, a leading expert on Chinese law at New York University; Irwin Cotler, member of Canada's parliament and former minister of justice; and Albert Ho, chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party and a member of the territory's legislature.

    Western reporters in Beijing have repeatedly pressed China's foreign and public security ministries for information on Gao, but both have declined to provide specifics on his whereabouts.

    Following years of legal activism, Gao was convicted of subversion in 2006, but given a suspended sentence.

    In 2007, Chinese authorities detained and severely tortured him, threatening to kill him if he disclosed the details of his torture, which he did in 2009, the Washington-based rights group Freedom Now said.

    "I hope that the United Nations will ask the Chinese government to follow its own law and to release him," Freedom Now quoted Gao's wife Geng He as saying.

    Geng fled China for the United States early last year.

    The UN human rights body, whch has no enforcement powers, has not yet commented on the petition.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?