By Irving Feng
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
JINAN, China – Chen Kegui, nephew of Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng, has been convicted of intentional infliction of injury and sentenced to 3 years and 3 months in prison by a Shangdong province court.
Chen Kegui was taken prisoner by police back in April when roughly 20 plain clothes police officers broke into his family’s home. He attempted to fight the men back, not knowing who the intruders were, and was subsequently arrested and charged with intentional homicide.
The charge of intentional homicide was later dropped to intentional infliction of injury because the prosecutor’s office did not have enough evidence to back up the homicide charge. Chen Guangfu, Kegui’s father, has condemned his son’s sentence as wholly illegal.
Chen Guangfu states that all of Kegui’s actions were in defense of himself and of his mother the night the plain clothes police broke into their home without warning or warrants. Human rights advocates have also condemned Kegui’s sentence as illegitimate and believe that the verdict should be overturned.
The Shangdong court conducted a hasty trial behind closed doors which lasted only about half a day before the decision was reached. Chen Kegui was held without any communication with his family, and he and his family were not allowed to choose their own lawyer for the legal proceedings.
Kegui’s court appointed lawyer, Ding Xikui, did not have access to any of the case materials nor did he have any contact with his client. He had only heard about the trial merely hours before the proceedings started.
Ding Xikui said that he was not surprised by the hasty verdict reached by the Shangdong court. He says this is not out of character for the local police and court, which he says has never respected due process and has violated the law in this manner in the past.
Chen Guangfu, Kegui’s father, said that his son would not be appealing the decision but does not know why since he was not allowed to witness the court proceedings. He has also filed a separate lawsuit against the local police and official authorities, citing the illegality of their actions when they broke into their family home without a warrant.
Chen Kegui’s sentence and punishment is seen by rights activists as purposeful retaliation against the family for Chen Guangcheng’s escape. Guangcheng escaped house arrest and fled to the United States in April, shortly before Chen Kegui was taken into custody. These questionable legal proceedings will undoubtedly bring into question China’s legal system and their commitment to human rights.
For further information, please see:
Taipei Times – Blind Chinese activist’s nephew gets jail sentence – 1 December 2012
BBC – Chen Guangcheng: Nephew Chen Kegui sentenced – 30 November 2012
New York Times – Nephew of Chinese Dissident Given 3 Years in Prison for Assault – 30 November 2012
Reuters – Blind China activist’s nephew gets three years in jail – 30 December 2012