Rights group condemns imprisonment of China protesters without open trial

Rights group condemns imprisonment of China protesters without open trial

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday condemned [press release] the conviction and imprisonment [Reuters report] on last week of 13 Chinese villagers who participated in a riot in Dongzhou [BBC report] last December. The 13 villagers were jailed for up to seven years for disturbing social order, possession of explosives, and illegal assembly while police who abruptly halted the riot by shooting protestors and ultimately killing three were not tried. HRW called for a public investigation into the Dongzhou trial and the public officials responsible for the deaths, saying: "[i]n the absence of public disclosure about the role of officials in the deaths of at least three protesters… the sentencing of villagers involved in the protests undermines confidence in the impartiality of the Chinese legal system."

Dongzhou residents protested [Wikipedia backgrounder] against the lack of compensation provided for the land residents lost due to the construction of a wind power plant, creating the most violent series of protests in China since Tiananmen Square [Wikipedia backgrounder], according to HRW. Reuters has more.