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Internet Essayist Li Jianping Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

(Oct. 26, 2006)Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Shandong-based dissident Li Jianping has been sentenced to two years in prison, more than half a year after he went to trial and more than 500 days after he was first detained. On October 25, the Zibo City Intermediate People's Court found Li guilty of "incitement to subvert state power" on the basis of articles he wrote that were posted on overseas Web sites. Li reportedly plans to appeal the verdict.

Li Jianping, 40, participated in the 1989 Democracy Movement as a founder of the Independent Federation of Shanghai Universities. In recent years he had run a medical supplies business in Zibo City, and also posted many articles on overseas Chinese Web sites. Police officers from the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) reportedly came to Li's home on May 27, 2005 to carry out an "Internet security inspection," and after finding "indecent" images in Li's computer, detained him on suspicion of libel. He was formally arrested on June 30, 2005 after a search on his home, during which police seized manuscripts, communications and bank records, and overseas checks in payment for his articles.

Li's case was referred to the Zibo Procuratorate on August 30 that same year, but the procuratorate sent the case back to the PSB on October 12 and again on December 26 for supplementary investigation because of insufficient evidence. The PSB submitted Li's case to the procuratorate again on January 26, 2006, and he was formally indicted on March 7. During his two-and-a-half hour trial on April 12, the prosecution presented as evidence the titles of 31 articles Li had written criticizing the Chinese authorities and expressing concern over China's human rights situation. However, no verdict was announced at the time.

In "major" or "complex" cases, China's Criminal Procedure Law provides for a maximum of one and a half months for an indictment to be issued (Article 138), with extensions for further investigation if necessary, and a maximum of two and a half months for the announcement of a judgment (Article 168). These time limits were exceeded throughout the proceedings against Li Jianping. In addition, sources in China told HRIC that Li was not allowed to see his family or lawyer throughout his detention, and has been almost completely cut off from communication with them since April 13, on several occasions relying on others to pass letters to his family requesting a meeting with his lawyer. (boxun.com)

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