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East China Petitioner Gets One Year and Six Months in Prison for “Obstructing Official Business”

Posted by Author on October 23, 2009

Human Rights in China (HRIC), October 23, 2009 –

Human Rights in China (HRIC) learned that on October 23, 2009, Duan Chunfang (段春芳), a Shanghai petitioner and Charter ’08 signer, was sentenced by a Shanghai court to one year and six months in prison for “obstructing official business.” Duan’s family members said that this is an unjust ruling and that they plan to appeal. Duan has been petitioning the authorities for redress for the 2007 death of her brother, Duan Huimin (段惠民), while he was serving a Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) sentence.

In 2000, Duan Chunfang and her brother began petitioning the authorities after her home was demolished by the government and he lost his job. On November 3, 2006, while petitioning in Beijing, they were beaten by around ten men – including one named Gao Weiguo – who had been sent by Shanghai authorities to Beijing to intercept petitioners. The brother and sister were brought back to Shanghai, and Duan Huimin was subsequently sentenced to 13 months of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL). He received no medical treatment in detention and his condition worsened. On December 31, 2006, the authorities decided to let Duan serve the remainder of his sentence outside of RTL facilities. While being escorted home by RTL officials, Duan asked to be taken to a hospital but was abandoned in the street instead. After his family retrieved him, he died two days later.

Following Duan Huimin’s death, Duan Chunfang continued to go to Beijing, to seek reparations for her demolished home and justice for her brother death. She also signed Charter ‘08. On June 23, 2009, Duan Chunfang and her husband were surrounded and beaten by a dozen or so policemen. Her arm was injured in several places. On July 3, she was detained and accused of assaulting policemen. She was later formally arrested on suspicion of “obstructing official business.”…… (more from Human Rights in China)

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