China court sentences dissident lawyer to five years in prison Alexis Unkovic at 3:49 PM ET
[JURIST] The Tianhe District Court in China [JURIST news archive] convicted lawyer and dissident writer Yang Maodong [Amnesty report] of conducting "illegal business activity" and sentenced him to serve five years in prison and pay more than $5,000 in fines, according to his lawyer. Yang's trial began [HRIC report] in July on charges stemming from his publication of a book concerning a political scandal in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. Yang's lawyer said that he confessed to the charges after being tortured. Reporters Without Borders [advocacy website] Thursday denounced [press release] Yang's Wednesday sentence as "harsh and unjustified" and reiterated its call [PDF text] for China to release Yang and other detained dissidents before the Beijing Olympic Games. Human Rights in China [advocacy website] similarly criticized [press release] the district court's ruling. AP has more.
Yang was arrested in September 2006, along with two other Internet authors, Chen Shuqing and Zhang Jianhong [Independent Chinese PEN Center report]. A court sentenced [JURIST report] Zhang to six years in prison in March for defaming the government by editing a website in China that called for political reform.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.