“A nephew of the dissident Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Friday for assaulting and injuring a government official who broke into the family’s home in April during a frenzied search for Mr. Chen,” the New York Times reports.
The nephew, Chen Kegui (left), 33, was convicted after a brief closed-door trial in Shandong Province, not far from the farmhouse where paid thugs kept his uncle, a self-taught human rights lawyer who is blind, illegally confined for 18 months along with his wife, and at times, their young daughter.
Details of their detention, which included round-the-clock surveillance and violence, drew international condemnation and ultimately proved embarrassing to China after Mr. Chen eluded his captors and found sanctuary inside the United States Embassy in Beijing. After a tense diplomatic standoff in May, Chinese officials allowed Mr. Chen and his family to move to the United States.
“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,’’ said Chen Guangcheng in an interview from his home in New York where he has been studying English and law. “There is no doubt that this is a kind of retaliation against me.’’
“This verdict is absolutely unjust. His behavior was completely reasonable self-defense. When it came out (the verdict), I lost hope in the law,” Chen Guangfu, Chen Kegui’s father, told Reuters.
He said the verdict meant China has no rule of law….Chen said he was told his son would not appeal but he did not know why because he was not allowed in to witness the trial.Court officials did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
“It’s worse than we had expected,” veteran activist and family friend Hu Jia told Reuters.
Chen’s nephew was facing charges of intentional homicide after wounding several intruders into his home in the course of self-defense, said Human Rights in China. The incident took place on April 27, 2012, several days after his uncle escaped unlawful house arrest by Shandong authorities.
“What an incredible farce,” said Jerome A. Cohen, a law professor at New York University who helped arrange a fellowship at the university for Chen Guangcheng.
Chen Guangcheng was a recipient in absentia of the National Endowment for Democracy‘s 2008 Democracy Award.