Beijing – A Beijing court has upheld a two-year prison sentence for a rights activist without holding an open appeal hearing or considering vital evidence not presented at her trial, her husband said Tuesday.
The court notified an attorney for Ni Yulan that it had rejected her appeal of a prison sentence passed in December for “obstructing public business,” her husband, Dong Jiqin, told the German Press Agency dpa.
The court continued to withhold “crucial evidence,” including a video that authorities said allegedly contained footage of Ni beating police officers, Dong said by telephone.
Dong had prepared a defence case for Ni’s trial in December, but he was not allowed into the courtroom.
The court also objected to well-known lawyer Li Fangping representing Ni in the appeal, Li told US-based Radio Free Asia.
Dong said lawyers were allowed to visit Ni about two weeks ago.
“Since she was arrested, I have not seen her at all,” Dong said. “It’s nearly one year.”
Ni, 48, was arrested on April 15 when she tried to stop about two dozen people from knocking down a wall enclosing part of the yard outside their home, which they had refused to vacate for developers despite years of pressure and threats.
She spent eight months in detention before her trial.
The police claimed that Ni caused serious injury to a worker while she was trying to stop them from damaging her property.
They later accused her of kicking an officer while in custody, Dong said earlier.
Ni was left disabled after alleged abuses during an earlier spell of police detention.
Her career as a lawyer was first interrupted in 2002 when police illegally detained her for 75 days for filming a forced relocation.
During that detention, Dong said, Ni was beaten and not given medical treatment. She was left with permanent back and leg injuries and now walks with the aid of crutches, he said.
Ni then lost her right to practise law after a criminal conviction in late 2002 on the same charge of obstructing public business.
She told her lawyer that the police had confiscated her crutches and made her crawl to use the bathroom during her latest detention, Dong said.
Authorities in Beijing’s Xicheng district razed the family home in November as part of a local government redevelopment plan. (dpa)