CHINA: Release of lawyer Wang Quanzhang!
Imprisoned for 5 years, human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang was finally released on Sunday, April 5, 2020. He left Linyi prison around 5am but was not allowed to return home to Beijing and join his family. He was taken by the police to the city of Jinan in Shandong province to be quarantined.
According to his wife, Ms Li, “They used the pretext of the epidemic as an excuse to quarantine him for 14 days when he should have been allowed to return home to Beijing according to the legal guidelines. She fears that her husband may be placed under de facto house arrest.”
This fear is confirmed by Doriane Lau, Amnesty International’s China researcher: “Today may mark the end of Wang Quanzhang’s unjust imprisonment, but the politically motivated campaign against him can only enter a new phase. Despite his release, he will remain under heavy surveillance and will not be able to return to the home where his wife and young child have been waiting for him for four and a half years.”
On Sunday, the European Union welcomed Mr Wang’s release as a “positive development”, but said that reports of the ill-treatment he suffered while in detention should be fully investigated.
“The European Union calls for Mr. Wang’s release to be unconditional, in particular with regard to his freedom of movement and establishment, including the possibility of reuniting with his family,” it said in a statement.
Lawyer Wang Quanzhang was arrested in August 2015 and held incommunicado until his trial, which was held in camera three and a half years later. Torture and ill-treatment during his detention was reported by various sources.
On 28 January 2019, he was sentenced by a court in the city of Tianjin to 4.5 years in prison and 5 years deprivation of his most fundamental rights for “subversion of state power”, in particular for having written reports on the investigation of the human rights situation in China, including on labour camps and expropriation, and for having organised demonstrations in Jiansanjiang in 2013.
Wang Quanzhang’s wife and son were not allowed to visit him until June 2019, almost four years after his detention.
The OIAD welcomes the release of lawyer Wang Quanzhang and calls for the respect of his fundamental rights, including the right to be reunited with his family, to exercise his profession and to have access to health care.
The OIAD fully supports our colleague and his family, whose surveillance measures must be lifted.
The OIAD remains particularly attentive following the events concerning Mr. Wang Quanzhang.