Li Yuhan is thought to have been targeted for defending prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu during a 2015 crackdown.
Since Chinese human rights lawyer Li Yuhan stood trial in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning in October 2021 for “fraud” and “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge often used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), there has been scant news of her fate.
? #LiYuhan has been in pre-trial detention for 5 years:
"They haven't issued a verdict," the lawyer said.
— CHRD????? (@CHRDnet) September 8, 2022
There were concerns over Li’s worsening health at the time of Li’s trial at the Heping District People’s Court in Shenyang, provincial capital of Liaoning, while diplomats were denied permission to attend the trial.
But since the trial concluded, nearly a year has passed with no verdict or sentence being made public, her lawyer told RFA in a recent interview.
“They haven’t issued a verdict,” the lawyer said. “Her family and I have contacted the presiding judge many times, and the response we got is ‘we have to wait for the higher-ups [to decide]’.”
“They didn’t give a clear opinion, so they clearly didn’t dare to convict, so they have just kept on dragging their feet,” he said, adding that he has no reason to disbelieve this explanation.
“I don’t think the judge lied … because they will always want to close a case as soon as possible,” he said.
Li is widely believed to have been targeted for her defense of prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu, who was among the first people to be detained in a nationwide operation targeting rights lawyers and activists in July 2015.
Wang said the delay is likely because the authorities are trying to elicit a “confession” from Li.
“The reason why she can’t be sentenced is that the public prosecutor is still trying to force her to confess, and plead guilty,” Wang told RFA.
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