[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 07:59 GMT
Chinese lawyer 'secretly tried'
This file photo dated 02 November 2005 shows Gao Zhisheng, the head of the Beijing-based Zhisheng Legal Office,
Mr Gao is well known for handling politically sensitive cases
A Chinese lawyer who is well-known for taking on politically sensitive cases is reported to have been put on trial for subversion.

Gao Zhisheng's own lawyer said the trial had taken place in Beijing on Tuesday and that a verdict was pending.

Mo Shaoping said he had not been informed about the proceedings beforehand and had been refused the right to defend Mr Gao.

If found guilty, Mr Gao could face up to 15 years in prison.

He has angered the authorities for representing religious activists and farmers with land disputes.

Mr Gao was represented by court-appointed lawyers assigned after the court said he had refused any legal representation.

But Mr Mo said neither he nor Mr Gao's family were allowed to attend the proceedings.

"Court officials told me it would be an open trial, but no-one was allowed to attend.

"Not allowing lawyers to meet with Gao Zhisheng is a violation of legal rules and illegally deprives him of his legal rights," he added.

Rights 'crackdown'

Gao Zhisheng was formally arrested in September "on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power", and Mr Mo said he was only told later of the charges his client faced.

His family say they have been denied permission to see him since he was detained.

Earlier this year, Mr Gao organised a protest over what he called widespread police brutality against activists.

His clients have included members of the banned spiritual organisation Falun Gong, members of an underground church, and those who complain they have lost land to the authorities.

Mr Gao's arrest was one of several involving human rights lawyers and activists in recent months, and is believed to be part of a wider crackdown in China on human rights campaigners.




SEE ALSO
China lawyer held for incitement
13 Oct 06 |  Asia-Pacific
China trials show danger of dissent
25 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese rights activist detained
08 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
China lawyer 'is targeted by car'
19 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
China's intolerance of dissent
07 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese protest lawyer 'arrested'
06 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific