Xu Zhiyong 许志永
Crime: Gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place
Length of Punishment: Four years
Court: Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court
Trial Date: January 22, 2014
Sentencing Date: January 26, 2014
Dates of Detention/Arrest: July 16, 2013 (detained); August 22, 2013 (arrested)
Place of Incarceration: Qinghe Farm Kenhua Prison (Haidian District, Beijing Municipality)
Verdict: Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate Court Criminal Verdict (English)
Appeal Hearing Date: April 11, 2014
Appeal Hearing Court: Beijing Municipal High People’s Court
Appeal Hearing Ruling: Upheld original ruling
Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a prominent Beijing professor and rights activist, had his home searched and personal properties confiscated by police before he was taken away in July 2013. Before that, Beijing police had subjected Xu to unlawful house arrest for over four months. One of his lawyers has consistently been denied access to visit Xu and was reportedly beaten. Xu Zhiyong appealed, and a second instance trial was held on April 11, 2014 at Beijing Municipality High People’s Court. The court upheld the original verdict.
Born in 1973, Xu founded the “Open Constitution Initiative” (Gongmeng, 公盟), a pro-democracy movement which later spawned the “New Citizen’s Movement,” a loose grouping of human rights defenders advocating for democratic and rule-of-law reforms, constitutionalism, human rights, and social justice. Many members of the movement and associates of Xu have been detained in the crackdown against free assembly, association, and expression that has taken place in China since the spring of 2013. Since starting his rights activism in 2003, Xu has promoted non-violence, defended individuals unjustly sentenced to death, drafted legal reforms, and provided legal consultation and other forms of assistance to homeless petitioners. For his many efforts in rights defense, Xu has been beaten, threatened, and arbitrarily detained by authorities.
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