Lawyer in China Mob Trial Gets 1 1/2 Years on Appeal

Lawyer Li Zhuang has had his sentence reduced to one and a half years on appeal. From AP:

The lawyer for an alleged mob boss in southwest China was given a reduced 1 1/2-year prison term Tuesday during his appeal on charges that he helped his client falsely claim torture by police during interrogation, the court said.

But the Beijing Evening News reported that Li Zhuang yelled out in the court after the punishment was announced that he only confessed during the appeal after a “relevant official” told him that doing so would get him a suspended sentence.

The Chongqing Municipality No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court upheld Li’s conviction but reduced his original sentence by one year because he repeatedly admitted to the charges against him during the latest trial, the court said on its Web site, without referring to any kind of plea bargain.

Also from Economic Observer:

After hearing the court’s verdict, an enraged Li grabbed the microphone before him and announced that his earlier admissions of guilt, made during the open-hearing stages of the trial, were false.

He said the statements he made admitting to his guilt were induced by the local public security agency and prosecutors who promised him a suspended sentence in return. He also claimed that they said the only way a second hearing would be held, is if he admitted his guilt.

He went on to declare that “the local public security agency and prosecutors have absolutely cheated me … the local prosecutor even tried to persuade me to give up my appeal. It was a complete deception and it will be exposed to the light of day sooner or later.”

Li appealed the country’s 160,000 lawyers to continue to struggle in defense of their rights in the handling of criminal cases.

Read more about Li Zhuang via CDT.

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