Veteran legal activist Guo Feixiong, whose longer-than-expected detention by police prompted fears he was being maltreated, has been formally arrested, his lawyer and sister said yesterday. His sister Yang Maoping said she received notification of his formal arrest on the charge of "gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place" from the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau Tianhe branch on Wednesday, two months after Guo - real name Yang Maodong - was placed in criminal detention. Guo's lawyer, Sui Muqing, said Guo, a supporter of the New Citizen pro-democracy movement, was accused of being a mastermind behind rallies in Guangzhou in January in support of the Southern Weekly newspaper and behind campaigns for officials to disclose their assets. Yang Maoping said she was puzzled that the notification, which stated her brother was arrested on September 12, took more than a month to reach her. "Why did it take so long? And why haven't they allowed him to meet his lawyer?" she asked. Chinese law mandates that police have 37 days to decide whether they would charge and arrest someone who has been criminally detained but detainees' families should be notified about their detention or arrest within 24 hours. The Tianhe district police station refused to comment. Sui said that since Guo, 47, was detained on August 8, six requests to see his client had been refused, leading him and his sister to believe Guo may have been tortured. Guo has previously complained of being subjected to beatings and electric shocks during detention and imprisonment. He spent five years in prison and when he was released in 2011, he told his sister that he had been tortured -- including being shocked with electric batons. He was jailed for alleged illegal business activities over the publication of book which exposed official corruption in Shenyang. Guo was also detained and beaten in 2005 and 2006 after he helped residents in the Taishi village in Guangdong in their attempt to unseat corrupt local officials.