1,000 Chinese lawyers condemn police attack after attorney has clothes ripped off in court
Wu Liangshu assaulted after he refuses to hand over mobile phone for checks, according to media report
About 1,000 lawyers in China have signed a statement condemning an attack on a lawyer who says he was assaulted in a courtroom by police officers.
The lawyer, Wu Liangshu, says he was beaten by three court policemen in the presence of two judges and one other official on Friday after his request to file a case in a district court in Nanning, Guangxi, was rejected.
The clash broke out when Wu refused to hand over his mobile phone for inspection by Qingxiu district court police. Wu had used the phone to record a conversation with court officials in its petition office.
“The refusal to establish a court case and the violent assault and search of a lawyer seriously damage the rights of attorneys. If even a professional lawyer is treated with barbaric and violent means, just imagine how they deal with civilians,” said the lawyers’ statement, posted online on Sunday evening.
“The act of the court takes the nation’s justice system as a joke and this is not the first time lawyers have been assaulted but we will not give up this time and we will press ahead,” it said.
Wu was photographed leaving the court with his shirt torn open and half of his trousers ripped away revealing his underpants, Caixin reported.
It said that Wu had red marks on his chest and multiple injuries to his fingers, and he claimed a court police officer had stamped on him.
The lawyers said that without legal paperwork such as a search warrant, court policemen did not have the power to demand the attorney hand over his phone for inspection.
“We are of the view that this is a classic case of abuse of power. Searching people in whatever way they please is an illegal act punishable by law,” the lawyers’ statement said.
They urged the court to immediately release surveillance camera footage of the incident to the public.
They also called on the court policemen to turn themselves for aggravated bodily harm and for the upper level courts in Guangxi to review the case the district court had refused to establish.
There was no law prohibiting anyone from recording sound or footage in a court’s petition office, the lawyers’ statement said.
“The law only prohibits recording during a hearing inside a court room. It does not apply to other court areas such as its main hall and petition office,” it said.
The Qingxiu district court said it was investigating the incident, which had resulted from “Wu refusing to hand over his cell phone that was used to record a conversation with court officials.”
It said Wu had kept the phone inside the pocket of his trousers and that “court policemen offered Wu a new pair but he refused”.
Nanning city lawyers association is also investigating the incident.
Meanwhile, Thepaper.cn reported that a county police station in Hunan province’s Yiyang city had placed two suspects under criminal detention for assaulting a lawyer representing the opposite side during a civil contract hearing.