UN Panel Demands that China Free Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo and His Wife

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in the U.N. issued opinions that Liu Xiaobo and his wife both be released from imprisonment and house arrest, respectively. From Washington Post:

A U.N. panel of independent legal experts is demanding that China immediately free Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife and pay them “adequate” compensation.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued separate opinions saying China is violating international law by imprisoning Liu and holding his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest.

Freedom Now, a Washington-based human rights group whose founder, Jared Genser, is the lead lawyer for the Lius, released the opinions on Monday.

The U.S. government strongly backed the Working Group’s opinions.

“We join in with the U.N. Working Group, and once again call for the immediate release of Liu Xiaobo, as well as his wife, from detention, with full restoration of their rights, and urge China to uphold its international human rights obligations,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington.

The five-member Working Group, established in 1991 to investigate instances of alleged arbitrary deprivation of liberty, reports to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council. It can give opinions, but neither the group nor the Human Rights Council have power to enforce them.

Though the report on Liu Xiaobo was dated May 5th, it was just released by legal-rights group Freedom Now. From The Standard:

The UN panel, made up of human rights experts from five countries, urged Beijing to take steps to “remedy the situation,” including Liu’s “immediate release and adequate reparation.”

The paper, dated May 5 and released yesterday by US-based legal rights group Freedom Now, also accused the mainland government of interfering with Liu’s “political free speech.”

China violated “its international human rights obligations,” it said, noting that Liu, 55, had just 14 minutes to defend himself at his two-hour trial.

The panel also criticized the house arrest of Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, saying she “has the right to be brought promptly before a judge, and the right to legal counsel.”

August 1, 2011 4:54 PM
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