Blind China activist's nephew gets three years in jail

Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:14am EST
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By Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in eastern China sentenced the nephew of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng to three years and three months in jail on Friday for intentional infliction of injury, in a case likely to refocus attention on China's human rights and legal system.

Chen Kegui had been held incommunicado by police for over six months and was denied access to his choice of lawyers. Both his family and human rights advocates have called the case illegitimate.

Chen Kegui was initially charged with "intentional homicide" for using knives to fend off local officials who burst into his home on April 27, the day after they discovered his blind uncle had escaped from 19 months of harsh house arrest in eastern Shandong province and fled to the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Police had downgraded the charge because they had no evidence to build a case of "intentional homicide" against him, Chen Guangcheng has said.

Chen Guangfu, Chen Kegui's father, said the verdict meant China has no rule of law.

"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 told Reuters by telephone

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.   Continued...

Chen Kegui, nephew of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, is seen in this undated handout provided by Chen Kegui's lawyer to Reuters May 22, 2012. REUTERS/Handout