Washington: A US-based human rights body
has charged the Chinese Government with violating the rights
of Liu Xiaobo – country's most prominent dissident – by
mounting a pre-determined political trial on him.
"The only purpose of this trial is to dress up naked
political repression in the trappings of legal proceedings,"
said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights
"Liu's crimes are non-existent, yet his fate has been
pre-determined. This is a travesty of justice," Richardson
Liu, a leading intellectual who spent nearly two years
in prison after the Tiananmen crackdown, has been indicted
for "incitement to subvert state power," a charge frequently
used against dissidents because it allows the criminalisation
of criticisms of the government and the party.
Liu's trial is due to open in Beijing tomorrow
Liu has been indicted for "incitement to subvert
state power" for his contribution to the drafting of "Charter
'08," a political manifesto calling for human rights and the
rule of law in China, as well as several articles he had
published in previous years.
He was arrested on December 8 last year and detained
for over a year before being indicted.
Liu faces up to 15 years in prison, the maximum under
a single charge of "fixed-term imprisonment" under Chinese
Although Liu was promised an open trial, his wife
Liu Xia was told by court officials this week that she would
not be allowed to attend the trial.
Several original co-signatories of Charter ‘08 who
had earlier expressed their solidarity with Liu Xiaobo, as
well as other supporters, have been warned by security agents
that they should not attempt to attend the trial and placed
under police surveillance.
"Liu Xiaobo's case has been marked by grave rights
violations from the outset," said Richardson.
"His arrest was political, the charges are political,
and his trial is political."
First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 09:03