A Chinese court sentenced the nephew of legal activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) to more than three years in jail after a hurried, half-day trial yesterday that his parents were barred from attending.
The punishment against Chen Kegui (陳克貴) is seen as retaliation by local officials angered by Chen Guangcheng’s daring escape from house arrest in April. The activist fled to the US embassy and set off a diplomatic tussle between Beijing and Washington. The activist, who is blind, now lives in New York.
The Yinan County People’s Court convicted Chen Kegui, 32, of assaulting officials who stormed into his house looking for the activist, and sentenced him to three years and three months’ imprisonment, said his father, Chen Guangfu (陳光福). The court would not let him and his wife attend the trial, Chen Guangfu said, and police officers guarded them as they waited outside the courthouse.
Chen Guangcheng said he was infuriated by the punishment of his nephew, who he says acted in self-defense.
“This is a case that tramples on the rule of law. It is a declaration of war against fairness and justice in the world. I absolutely cannot accept this and am very, very angry,” Chen Guangcheng said in an interview from New York, where he has been studying English and law. “There is no doubt that this is a kind of retaliation against me.”
The charge of “intentional injury” centers on a clash between Chen Kegui and local officials who burst into his home looking for Chen Guangcheng after his escape. Chen Kegui allegedly hacked at the officials with knives after he and his parents had been beaten.
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