Activist Ni Yulan and Husband Dong Jiqin Sentenced

Ni Yulan, who has been stripped of her lawyer’s license, beaten until she could no longer walk unaided, and repeatedly imprisoned for defending the rights of forced demolition victims, has received a further prison sentence of two years and eight months for fraud and “creating a disturbance”. The latter charge, for which her husband also received two years, involved incidents at a hotel which Ni says was a black jail. From The Guardian:

… ”Of course [the sentence] was unfair… Ni is innocent.” said her lawyer Cheng Hai.

He said there were no criminal grounds for her trial and she should have faced civil litigation or an administrative dispute at most. He will recommend she appeals.

Dong Qianyong, lawyer for Dong Jiqin, added: “Their case does not even constitute a crime. Ni has been in prison three times because of demolition. This is unfair and shameful for the legal system.”

He said the court had refused to postpone the trial due to Ni’s illness, adding: “Not only did it not conform to the law, but it was also inhumane.”

Chinese Human Rights Defenders notes that the sentence came more than three months after the couple’s closed four-hour trial in December, violating the terms of China’s Criminal Procedure Law.

In January last year, Paul Mooney described the couple’s situation in the hotel. They had previously been living in a donated tent in a Beijing park, as their own home was demolished in 2008, and police would not allow them to rent an apartment or stay with friends.

Ni Yulan sits on her bed tapping away at her laptop as her husband Dong Jiqin skitters about the dingy hotel room lighting candles before the last rays of the sun fade on a recent grey, cold day in Beijing. It is the 37th day since Beijing police cut off the electricity to the couple’s room, and the 16th day without water. The disconnections are an attempt to drive the couple from the dilapidated hotel that police once confined them to ….

By November, police … tried to force couple out of the hotel and back onto the street. Ni and Dong, however, refused to budge.

“They say we haven’t paid the hotel bill, so we have to leave,” Ni says. “But we were taken here by the police – it wasn’t our idea. The police still have not given us a reason [for our detention] or taken any legal steps against us.”

Read more about Ni Yulan via CDT.