A prominent rights lawyer whose trial on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and provoking trouble is drawing near has been denied access to lawyers for nearly a month, his wife and one of his lawyers said on Monday. Meng Qun, wife of Pu Zhiqiang, raised the concern in an open letter addressed to the leadership of the Beijing detention centre where her husband is being held, urging authorities to honour the rules to allow Pu access to lawyers. One of Pu's lawyers, Shang Baojun, confirmed that Pu last met his lawyers on June 23. It is widely believed that Pu is being politically persecuted amid Beijing's crackdown on civil society. The charges stem from his online posts that questioned China's ethnic policies in the wake of deadly violence involving ethnic minority Uygurs, and others that mocked political figures. He was taken away in May last year and indicted this May. Shang said he expected a Beijing court to hold Pu's trial soon, because by law the courts had three months from the indictment to hold a trial and issue a verdict. But the authorities have not yet announced a date. In her open letter, Meng said that Pu was entitled to meet his lawyers after the indictment but that the lawyers had been asked - contrary to the rules - to submit a meeting request. Even after the lawyers put in a request, the detention centre had failed to accommodate a meeting within 48 hours, as stipulated by the rules, Meng said. "The lawyer put in a request on June 2, and the meeting was arranged only on June 23. It took as long as 21 days for approval," Meng wrote. The lawyers protested, but to no avail, and they submitted another meeting request in late June, Meng wrote: "Nearly one month has passed, but there has not been one word." Meng said the director of the detention centre told her only leaders from the Communist Party could decide on the matter. Beijing says it has been pushing for rule of law, but has also emphasised the party's leadership over the court system, prompting criticism that the country is still ruled by the will of the party, rather than law. Most recently, authorities have rounded up dozens of rights defence lawyers, accusing them of being rabble rousers, troublemakers and fame-seeking opportunists. Foreign governments and international rights groups have condemned Beijing's crackdown on the lawyers.