Chinese court sentences rights lawyer in secret trial

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BEIJING: China sentenced a prominent human rights lawyer to a three-year suspended sentence Friday following a secret trial, raising concerns the country is moving to further reduce transparency in high-profile, politically sensitive cases. Li Heping, best known for defending blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, was found guilty of “subverting state power,” the Tianjin Second Intermediate Court said in a post on its verified microblog. Li stood trial on Tuesday in the port city of Tianjin, close to the nation’s capital, where he said he would “obey the judgement and not appeal,” the statement said. “Because the case involved state secrets, our court had a trial not open to the public…the court fully protects the rights of litigation of Li Heping,” it added. Beijing has come under increased fire from the international community as it tightens the screws on the country’s civil society in a crackdown that is said to have relied on torture and illegal detentions to punish critics of the government.

AFP

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