Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that delivery of the verdict in the trial of Guangdong-based rights defender Guo Feixiong (also known as Yang Maodong) has been delayed for further investigation. Guo went to trial at Guangzhou's Tianhe District Court on July 9, 2007, on charges of "running an illegal business" in connection with the publication of a book.
Sources in China told HRIC that on the morning of July 26, 2007, Guo Feixiong's wife Zhang Qing phoned Guangzhou's Tianhe District Court to ask when Guo's verdict would be announced. Tianhe District Court judge Zhang Hao reportedly told her that a few days earlier, the procuratorate had requested that Guo's case be sent back for supplementary investigation following the adjournment of his trial, resulting in a delay in the announcement of the verdict.
Additional supplementary investigations are permissible under the Criminal Procedural Law, but it must be completed within one month. This investigation, which while technically permissible is not common, causes yet another delay for Guo Feixiong, whose case has already been drawn out by repeated supplementary investigations at the pre-trial stage.
Zhang Qing told HRIC that she had received a letter from Guo Feixiong dated July 10, in which he expressed satisfaction with the conditions of his trial, and sent his regards to his friends and supporters. Guo is currently being held at Guangzhou's No. 3 Detention Center.
Guo Feixiong, who provided legal advice in a number of controversial rights defense cases, including being the main legal counsel in 2005's Taishi Village incident, was detained on September 14, 2006, and formally arrested on September 30, 2006, on suspicion of "illegal business activity." According to the indictment against Guo, the allegation stems from some editing work he did for a book published in Liaoning Province regarding a political scandal in Shenyang City. Prior to his July 9 trial, Guo's case had been sent back by the procuratorate for repeated supplementary investigations in both Guangdong and Liaoning.
Guo has complained of torture and other inhumane treatment during his long detention, and has gone on hunger strike numerous times in protest. On June 6, 2007, HRIC received a letter from Zhang Qing detailing Guo's torture in detention and asking HRIC to forward the letter to Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Guo also raised his ill treatment in front of the trial judge on July 9, and further argued that "ninety per cent of my 175 interrogation sessions in detention were related to Taishi Village, and I am therefore clearly being politically persecuted."
HRIC remains deeply concerned about the abuse and torture to which Guo Feixiong has been subjected to in detention, as well as repeated delays in the course of the investigation and trial of his case. HRIC urges the authorities to ensure Guo's safety in detention and that his due process rights are fully protected pending the outcome of his trial.
For previous HRIC press releases on Guo Feixiong, see:
"Guo Feixiong Appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture," June 5, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/40742;
"Rights Defender Guo Feixiong’s Trial Date Set," May 21, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/38474;
"Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Maintains Innocence, is Formally Indicted," May 15, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/37607;
"Guo Feixiong Transferred Again Pending Trial," April 2, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/35093;
"Guo Feixiong’s Case Delayed, Transferred," January 22, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/32199;
"Guo Feixiong Tortured, Sister and Brother Harassed," January 16, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/32161.