[JURIST] A Chinese lawyer and outspoken critic of the Chinese government has accused authorities of torturing him to confess to subversion charges, according to letters and recordings that were recently made public by a fellow activist. Gao Zhisheng [Wikipedia profile] alleges that he was handcuffed or made to sit in a cross-legged position for hundreds of hours with bright lights shining on him, and said that he was forced to sit on an iron chair for 109 hours at one time. Gao said he was also offered $650 to make a public confession to the charges against him, which he accepted to send to his family. His allegations closely match other reports of torture [JURIST report] to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau [official website] by political protesters and criminal suspects.
Gao was arrested in August of last year and held for five months before being convicted [JURIST report] in a one-day trial of "conspiring to topple" the government of China [JURIST news archive] by writing nine "defamatory" articles posted on international websites, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency [media website]. He received a three-year suspended sentence [JURIST report] and is currently under house arrest where he has no telephone or access to the outside world. Gao's political rights were also suspended for one year, including the right to free speech and to protest. Activist Hu Jia [Wikipedia profile], who released the tapes and letters, said Tuesday that he had several appointments with embassies to discuss Gao's case, but plainclothes police officers who allegedly intercepted Hu's phone calls prevented him from attending the meetings. AP has more.