Case history: Zhao Wei
On 7 July 2016 Zhao Wei was released on bail following nearly a year of incommunicado detention. On 11 and 12 January 2016, the families of five human rights lawyers and a legal assistant received official notice that their family members had been formally charged. All six individuals had been held in secret detention for six months.
Zhao Wei is a legal assistant to human rights lawyer Li Heping at Beijing Globe Law Firm.
On 11 and 12 January 2016, the families of five human rights lawyers and a legal assistant received official notice that their family members had been formally charged. All six individuals had been held in secret detention for six months.
Mr Zhou Shifeng, Mr Wang Quanzhang, Ms Zhao Wei and Ms Li Shuyun have all been charged with subversion of state power, while Mr Xie Yanyi and Mr Xie Yang have been charged with inciting subversion of state power. The maximum penalty for the crime of 'subversion of state power' is life imprisonment. There is a 15 year maximum penalty for the crime of 'inciting subversion of state power'.
On 10 July 2015, Zhou Shifeng, Wang Quanzhang, Li Shuyun and Zhao Wei were detained by police in Beijing. On 11 July 2015, Xie Yang was detained in Changsha, Hunan province. On 12 July 2015, Xie Yani was also detained in Beijing. None of the six have been permitted access to lawyers and all have been held incommunicado since their detentions. They were among over 300 lawyers, legal assistants and human rights defenders who were detained, placed under residential surveillance, subjected to travel bans or harassed in the period following 9 July last year. It is believed that up to 20 other human rights defenders remain in some form of police custody, in addition to the aforementioned six.
Front Line Defenders expresses its grave concern for the charging of the six human rights lawyers, given the severity of the offences with which they have been falsely accused. Particularly grave concern is expressed at the charge of 'subversion of state power', which has been brought against Zhou Shifeng, Wang Quanzhang, Zhao Wei and Li Shuyun. Front Line Defenders believes the charging of the human rights lawyers and their continued incommunicado detention to be directly linked to their peaceful and legitimate human rights work.