South China Morning Post’s Patrick Boehler reports the sentencing of petitioner Ji Zhongxing to six years in prison for causing an explosion at Beijing International Airport in July.
The wheelchair-bound petitioner was found guilty of causing bodily harm with an explosive device in the first instance ruling by the Chaoyang District People’s Court in Beijing on Tuesday morning. The act carried a potential sentence of between three and 10 years’ imprisonment.
Ji had pleaded not guilty during his trial hearing in September, arguing that he did not intentionally detonate the bomb in the airport’s Terminal 3 on July 20. The 33-year-old Shandong-native was injured heavily in the blast and has since been undergoing medical treatment. [Source]
Ji nevertheless expressed regret for the blast at his trial last month. His long pursuit of compensation for his injury in an alleged police beating won considerable public support, prompting a promise from officials to reinvestigate his case.
Updated: The sentence has prompted sympathy and anger from Ji’s lawyer and supporters, writes Sui-Lee Wee at Reuters:
“During the trial, (authorities) did not seek to find out the facts,” Liu [Xiaoyuan, Ji’s lawyer] said. “Although it was mentioned in the verdict statement, they never fully considered or discovered the cause of the bombing at the airport.”
[…] “What we want to know more is: How will those assailants who injured him in the first place be punished?” Chen Haodong, vice dean of an art school in southern Guangdong province, wrote on his microblog.
Gong Liegang, a lawyer based in Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province, called the sentence “abnormally harsh” and described Ji as “a vulnerable person” who had no other way to protect his rights. [Source]