Xinhua reports that a Beijing court has revoked the probation of rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been missing since April last year and will now spend the next three years in prison. His probation was due to end later this month.
Gao Zhisheng, 47, was sentenced to three years in prison with five years of probation and deprived of political rights for one year on Dec. 22, 2006, said a statement from the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court.
He had seriously violated probation rules for a number of times, which led to the court decision to withdraw the probation, the statement said ….
He would serve his term in prison in next three years, the statement said.
“That’s the first I’ve heard about this. They didn’t tell us anything about a hearing or decision,” Gao Zhiyi said by telephone from his home in Shaanxi province.
“This is a shock. Since he was taken away last year, we haven’t heard anything about where he is or whether he’s healthy,” he added.
Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher on China for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the news did not allay any fears about the lawyer’s well-being.
“This seems to be further proof of the politically motivated persecution against him. He has had a long history of abuses at the hands of authorities,” he said.
Bequelin also stated on Twitter that the international community “should not let up the pressure on Gao Zhisheng – he remains a case of grave concern whether disappeared or imprisoned …. It would take a lot more to make Gao’s case ‘lawful’ than today’s court announcement.”
The family previously believed that Gao’s probation would expire in August, leading to heightened concern when he failed to reappear. Police told them that he was missing or withheld information altogether, and in his continued absence, rumours circulated last month that Gao had died in custody.
See more on Gao Zhisheng, via CDT.