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Case Update: Court Stalls on Giving Written Judgment to Huang Qi's Lawyers, Family

November 25, 2009

The family of Sichuan earthquake activist Huang Qi (黄琦), who was convicted of “illegal possession of state secrets” on November 23, 2009, and sentenced to three years imprisonment, has requested that Human Rights in China make public two documents. The first is a letter from Huang’s lawyers Mo Shaoping (莫少平) and Ding Xikui (丁锡奎) to the Criminal Department of Wuhou District People’s Court of Chengdu requesting that the court mail a copy of the written judgment to them, the defense counsel, as required by law. The court has thus far refused to do so and said that the lawyers must obtain the written judgment in person, which would mean that the lawyers have to travel from Beijing to Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, incurring substantial travel expenses that the family can not afford. The second is the defense statement.

HRIC has translated the lawyers’ letter into English (see below) and is making available the defense statement in its Chinese original.

Lawyers’ Letter

(English translation by HRIC)

To Justice Shui Changbing, also copied to the Head of the Court,
Criminal Division of Wuhou District People’s Court of Chengdu:

We are Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui, lawyers from the Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm, who served as defense counsel to Huang Qi, the defendant in an “illegal procession of state secrets documents” case handled by your Court.

On November 19, 2009, Ding Xikui received a call from Secretary Zhang of the Criminal Division of your Court, saying that the verdict of Huang Qi’s case would be announced at 10 a.m. on November 23, and informing us to be present in the court. He further faxed us the Notice for Court Appearance upon our request. At that time, Ding and Zhang came to an agreement: in consideration of the long journey required to appear in court and in order to relieve the client’s financial burden, the defense counsel would not appear in court; the written judgment would instead be sent by mail to the defense counsel following the pronouncement of the verdict. On the afternoon of November 23, Ding Xihui called Zhang, inquiring about the mailing of the written judgment. Zhang then said: We will not mail the written judgment. Defense counsel must appear in court on their own accord to obtain it. If you have any objections, contact Justice Shui Changbing (税长冰), who is responsible for this. Not long thereafter, lawyer Ding sent a text message to Zhang, again requesting that the written judgment be mailed; he has yet to receive a reply. Today we made many calls again to Zhang as well as Justice Shui Changbing, but we were unable to get in touch with them. We believe that your honorable Court's refusal to mail the written judgment is a clear violation of the pertinent laws and regulations and hereby issue the following lawyers’ opinions:

1. Article 182 of Explanation of Several Issues Regarding the Execution of the “Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China”  [unofficial translation by HRIC] (promulgated by the Supreme People’s Court on September 2, 1998; hereafter the “CPL Explanation”) stipulates: “after the pronouncement of the verdict, the written judgment shall promptly be delivered to the parties concerned, their legal representatives, litigation representatives, the indicting people’s procuratorate, the defense counsel, and the immediate relatives of the defendant(s)… ”

It is clear that the Supreme People's Court's CPL Explanation clearly stipulates that delivering the written judgment to the defense counsel is the obligation of the court; that your Court did not send the defense counsel the written judgment is in violation of the pertinent regulations.

2. Article 8, section 1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of People’s Republic of China stipulates: “summons, notices, and other litigation documents shall be delivered to the recipient himself; if the recipient is absent, the documents may be received on his behalf by an adult member of his family or a responsible person in his work unit.”

It is clear that the legislative intent of the law is that when the court sends litigation documents, including the written judgment, to the defense counsel, it shall send an officer to the defense counsel’s residence to deliver the documents. It is not the contrary, wherein the court orders that defense counsel go to the court to obtain the documents.

3. Article 105 of the CPL Explanation stipulates: “If there are difficulties in delivering the litigation documents directly, the people’s court at the recipient’s locality may be entrusted to deliver the documents, or the litigation documents may be delivered by mail.”

It is clear that delivery via mail is a method for delivering litigation documents, including the written judgment, to the defense counsel. The defense counsel’s request is in compliance with the legal provisions of the pertinent judicial explanation.

In summary, we hope your honorable Court can fulfill its obligations in accordance with the law and dispatch an officer to deliver the written judgment or mail it to the defense counsel as soon as possible, thereby ensuring the procedural rights of lawyers and upholding the dignity of the law.

With our sincerest wishes for your careful consideration!

Mo Shaoping
Ding Xikui
November 24, 2009

Copied: Chengdu Municipal Intermediate People’s Court
Chengdu Municipal People’s Procuratorate
Wuhao District People’s Procuratorate of Chengdu

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