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Rights lawyer files torture charges against Chinese officials

Freed Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang has filed a rare complaint seeking charges against two officials, accusing them of torturing him during his secret detention, according to documents seen by AFP.

Detained in 2015 as part of a sweeping crackdown on hundreds of lawyers and rights activists, Wang was released in April after four-and-a-half years behind bars in a case that drew international attention.

This week is also the fifth anniversary of the mass arrest campaign, known as the “709 crackdown.”

In the years since China’s crackdown on activists and rights lawyers has not subsided.

In the complaint filed to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Tianjin People’s Procuratorate on Monday, Wang accused two Tianjin Public Security Bureau interrogators, Guo Aiqiang and Fu Rui, of torture to extract a confession, defamation and humiliation.

“On 3 August 2015, the complainant was secretly detained on charges of picking quarrels and stirring trouble, incitement to subvert state power, and subversion of state power,” the lawsuit said.

“The complainant was verbally insulted, spat on, slapped, denied toilet access for lengthy periods, prevented from turning over while sleeping, and subjected to various methods to coerce a confession for 15 hours a day for a total of almost a month by Guo Aiqiang and Fu Rui.”

Wang was placed in a form of secret extrajudicial detention typically used against dissidents, known as “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL) for six months. AF

Numerous activists held under RSDL have said they experienced frequent torture, intimidation, and coercion, with no accountability from authorities.

That makes the rarity of legal complaints like Wang’s even more remarkable, according to activists.

“Wang Quanzhang continues to demonstrate extraordinary courage, undefeatable spirit by filing a complaint against the Tianjin police who committed horrific human rights abuses against him,” said Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Wang probably knows better than anyone that the complaint is unlikely to be accepted by the court and that he is unlikely to get justice from a justice system that is controlled by ... the Chinese Communist Party, and that he could be further punished by filing the complaint.”The Tianjin Public Security Bureau and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate did not respond to faxed requests for comment. 

Topics: Wang Quanzhang , Supreme People’s Procuratorate , Yaqiu Wang
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