Shanwei two lodge appeal against convictions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2006, 12:00am

Two of the 13 Shanwei farmers who were jailed for up to seven years last week for their roles in a bloody demonstration in the village of Dongzhou in December have decided to appeal against their convictions, relatives and villagers said yesterday.

Liu Yuhua, the wife of Lin Hanru who was sentenced to six years in prison, said her husband had submitted an appeal application to the Haifeng People's Court after the verdicts were handed down on May 24.

'We condemn the trial because it was a closed-door conviction. My husband has been unwilling to accept the verdict and insists that he is innocent,' Ms Liu said.

She said her husband would mount his appeal himself because they had no money to hire a lawyer.

Ms Liu said she would support her husband, even though the family's economic situation had grown worse by the day since Lin's arrest. One of their four children is mentally and physically disabled.

The other villager who had decided to appeal was Zhang Qingyu, who was sentenced to three years, a villager said. 'Zhang is the only defendant who has money to hire a lawyer to plead for him. The other 11 villagers, who were sentenced to seven to three years, have all given up,' he said.

Relatives of Huang Xirang, who received the heaviest sentence of seven years in jail, said Huang had given up hope of an appeal because of poverty.

'I and my three children have been sick since early this year, but we have no money to cure ourselves since my husband's arrest. How can we afford to hire a lawyer to appeal for my husband?' asked Liu Yujiao .

Meanwhile, the US-based Human Rights Watch yesterday condemned the conviction and sentencing of the 13 villagers over the riots that left three villagers dead.

The villagers were protesting against the seizure of their land and a lake for a coal-fired power plant.