Human Rights

Chinese human rights lawyer has been tortured in prison, his legal team says

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Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang signed a false confession in detention in China after his captors beat him, deprived him of sleep and forced him into painful positions, according to interviews published by his lawyers.

Xie told his lawyers he suffered a “complete mental breakdown” and signed the statement after several days of such treatment, report the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and the Guardian. The transcripts are available here.

“What’s particularly notable about Mr. Xie’s case,” the Wall Street Journal reports, “is that he remains in detention. He gave the account to his lawyers over multiple meetings, which they transcribed. Those lawyers, who filed a complaint against the 10 police officers Mr. Xie named as his abusers, are now likely to face their own harsh reckoning with authorities.”

During the beatings, Xie said, his captors would “split up the work: one or two would grab my arms while someone used their fists to punch me in the stomach, kneed me in the stomach, or kicked me with their feet.”

Xie also said he was also forced to sit in a painful position for 20 hours at a time. “They have a kind of slow torture called the ‘dangling chair,” Xie said. “It’s like I said before—they made me sit on a bunch of plastic stools stacked on top each other, 24 hours a day except for the two hours they let me sleep. They make you sit up there, with both feet unable to touch the ground.” His legs were in such pain, he said, that they became numb and swollen.

Xie was among more 300 lawyers and legal activists detained in a crackdown in July 2015.

Another detained lawyer who was recently released, Li Chunfu, has been diagnosed with symptoms of schizophrenia.

Related article: “China’s latest crackdown on lawyers is unprecedented, human rights monitors say”

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