UN experts denounce secret detention of Chinese human rights lawyer

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Detention cell

A group of UN human rights experts on Friday denounced the continued secret detention of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who was arrested in 2006.

The experts expressed concern at recent news that a Beijing court has withdrawn Mr. Gao's five-year probation and ordered him to serve a three-year sentence.

Charles Appel reports.

Gao Zhisheng was arrested in 2006 charged with subversion of State power while working as a human rights lawyer, according to a news release issued by the UN experts.

A year earlier, his licence to practice law had been revoked and his firm shut down while defending some Chinese religious groups against abuse.

During Mr. Gao's probation he was secretly detained several times.

The probation of Mr. Gao, whose whereabouts have been unknown for the last 20 months, was to end this week.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which issued an opinion in 2010, has declared Gao's detention arbitrary as it lacked any legal basis.

The Chair-Rapporteur of the group, El Hadji Malick Sow, has urged the Chinese government to release Mr.Gao, since his right to a fair trial had been violated.

Charles Appel, United Nations.

Duration: 51″

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