An international group of lawyers and judges on May 2 called on Beijing to release human rights lawyer Xie Yang, who was detained during a nationwide crackdown on the legal profession beginning in July 2015, and whose trial at a court in the central province of Hunan was called off last month.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the Chinese government to release Xie, who has reported torture during his incarceration, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
“Xie Yang’s arrest and prosecution seem to be in connection with his performing legitimate professional functions as a human rights lawyer,” ICJ secretary-general Sam Zarifi said in a statement.
“Lawyers in China like Xie Yang are indispensable in ensuring human rights protection and upholding the rule of law in China,” he said.
“The government should release Xie Yang immediately and conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation on the allegations that he has been subjected to torture,” he said.
The ICJ said Xie has been unable to communicate with his lawyers since he gave them his account of his torture at the hands of police, and is now represented by a government-appointed lawyer.
Xie’s wife Chen Guiqiu, who is currently in the United States, said the government lawyer is colluding with police.
She also accused the authorities of breaking a promise to release Xie.
“They told me before that he would be released around the end of April, and that he’d probably have some restrictions on his freedom for a few days after that,” Chen told RFA.
“I think that they were just playing for time and fobbing me off,” she said.