April 10 - Chinese court sentences a disabled lawyer to two years and eight months in prison. Sophia Soo reports.
Security was tight around a Chinese court, as it handed down a jail sentence of two years and eight months to a disabled lawyer. Ni Yulan, and her husband, Dong Jiqin, were detained one year ago, and charged with causing disturbance and fraud. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) BEIJING XICHENG DISTRICT COURT SPOKESPERSON SAYING: "Based on the laws, the court has now adjudicated that the defendant Ni Yulan committed the crime of causing disturbance, sentencing her to two year and six months in jail. For committing fraud, she is sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of 1,000 yuan (159 U.S. Dollars). The court finally decided to sentence her two years and eight months in prison and fine her 1,000 yuan (159 U.S. Dollars)," Her husband, Dong, was given two years in prison. Ni is known for defending people evicted from their homes. She herself was forced out of her home in 2008 after it was demolished. More than a dozen diplomats gathered outside the courthouse to wait for the verdict. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIRST SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION, RAPHAEL DROSZEWSKI, SAYING: "The delegation of the European Union to China is deeply concerned by news of the sentence sending down to the human rights defender Ni Yulan and Dong Jiqin. The EU firmly upholds the rights of the person to act to address any human right on behalf of individuals or groups as entrenched in the United Nations declaration on human rights defenders. We are particularly concerned by Mrs. Ni's poor health, and ask for her immediate release. The European Union is preoccupied with the deterioration of the situation for human rights defenders in China and we continue to follow these cases attentively." Ni was left disabled by a police beating in 2002, after filming the forced demolition of a client's home and was then jailed. She was again jailed and beaten by police in 2008. According to rights groups, she was released in April 2010. Sophia Soo, Reuters.