The daughter of a Chinese medical researcher condemned to death on charges that he spied for Taiwan said yesterday that her father had not received a fair trial and should not be executed.
Ran Chen said her family was told on Nov. 18 that the Supreme People’s Court had approved the execution of Wo Weihan (伍維漢), who was convicted last year of spying.
Chen said family members were told to arrange to see him as soon as possible, usually a sign of pending execution.
She said she feared the execution could take place as early as today, when the family has arranged to see Wo at Beijing’s Intermediate People’s Court.
“We don’t know what will happen,” Chen said.
The court said yesterday it did not have any information on Wo’s case.
Chen, an Austrian citizen pursuing graduate studies in Berkley, California, said Wo was convicted mainly on the basis of a confession that he later recanted. She said the scant evidence brought by prosecutors never proved the spying charges.
A copy of Wo’s conviction said his alleged crimes included revealing the health status of an unnamed high-ranking Chinese official. China considers information about the health of leaders to be a state secret.
Wo was also convicted of passing on data about missile control systems, information Chen said had been published in a magazine and was only later classified as secret.
Wo was accused of passing the information through a middle man to a group linked to the Taiwanese intelligence agencies.
Amnesty International called on authorities to block the execution.
“Available information suggests that Wo Weihan did not receive a fair trial according to international standards,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific director.
Trained as a medical researcher, Wo ran a medical equipment supply company on the outskirts of Beijing and frequently traveled abroad. He was detained in January 2005, but not permitted to see a lawyer until a year later.
Wo has been held in a prison hospital since March 2005, shortly after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
He was sentenced to death by the Beijing court in May last year after a closed trial.
His appeal was denied on Feb. 29 this year and his sentence automatically forwarded to the Supreme Court for approval.
Although courts have been ordered to apply the death penalty for only the most egregious crimes, China remains the world’s leading executioner of prisoners, including many convicted for nonviolent crimes.
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