|August 1st, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MPs Reid and Cotler visit vigil for prisoner of conscience
OTTAWA – Scott Reid, MP for Lanark-Carleton, today gave his support to Jinyu Li, the wife of Chinese prisoner of conscience Shenli Lin, who is keeping a vigil calling for her husband’s release from a Chinese labour camp.
“I am proud and honoured to be able to support Jinyu Li in her brave struggle for her husband’s freedom,” said Reid while visiting Jinyu Li’s round-the-clock vigil outside the Chinese Embassy on St.Patrick Street. “It is through such personal sacrifices that awareness is raised, and public pressure is built to call upon Chinese authorities to stop their persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.”
Shenli Lin, a Chinese citizen, was arrested in China in January 2000 for practicing Falun Gong, and sentenced without trial to 18 months in a labour camp. On 23 July of this year – the day of his expected release – his wife Jinyu Li was informed that Shenli Lin’s sentence had been arbitrarily extended by six months. Jinyu Li is a Canadian citizen, and had been attempting to process her husband’s immigration to Canada since before his initial arrest 18 months ago. Amnesty International has recognized Shenli Lin as a prisoner of conscience.
“I wish to join Jinyu Li in calling for Shenli Lin’s immediate and unconditional release from prison. I also commend Amnesty International for raising awareness of his case, and for initiating a letter-writing campaign on Shenli Lin’s behalf,” concluded Reid.
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For further information, contact:
Scott Reid, MP (613) 257-8130
Cotler condemns “the continuing criminalization of innocence” in the Chinese imprisonment of ShenLi Lin, husband of Canadian citizen and Montreal resident, Jinyu Li.
for release of family members arrested and imprisoned for membership in
Montreal- Liberal M.P. and McGill Law Professor Irwin Cotler, who has agreed to act pro bono as Legal Counsel to Montrealer Jinyu Li- today characterized her husband’s year-long imprisonment – and recent arrest of other family members – as the “criminalization of innocence.” He added: “What we are witnessing, once again, is the criminalization of fundamental freedoms- the freedoms of conscience and belief – of assembly and association – of expression and opinion.”
Cotler continued:” the arrest, detention, torture, and sentencing of ShenLi Lin- and arrest of other family members – for nothing other than being a member of a peaceful, spiritual movement known as the Falun Gong – is a case study of the persistent and pervasive assault on human rights in China today in general – and a case study of the attempt to suppress the fundamental freedoms of the Falun Gong in particular.”
Cotler, an international human rights lawyer who has defended political prisoners around the world, said that ShenLi Lin’s “criminalization of innocence” included the following major human rights violations:
· Violation of the right to freedom of conscience and belief, as in the prohibition and suppression of ShenLi Lin’s – and their family’s – right to believe in, profess, and practice the Falun Gong values of “truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance”;
· Violation of the rights to freedom of assembly and association ,as in the prohibition of any participation by them in any exercise or meditation gathering of the Falun Gong;
· Violation of the rights to freedom of expression and information , as in the banning and burning of Falun Gong books and materials;
· Violation of the protection against arbitrary arrest and detention, as in the arrest and detention of ShenLi Lin for exercising rights guaranteed under Chinese law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of which China is a signatory;
· Violation of the right to protection against torture and other cruel and degrading punishment or treatment, compulsory reeducation endured by ShenLi Lin during his detention;
· Violation of the right to a fair trial, as in the conviction and sentence of ShenLi Lin to a forced labor camp in the absence of any hearing, respect for the presumption of innocence, or representation by counsel;
· Violation of the basic right to live, liberty, and security of the person, as in the denial to ShenLi Lin of basic rights to integrity of the person, human dignity, and due process; and
· Violation of the right to be left alone – which has been characterized as the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized people.
Cotler, in his capacity as Legal Counsel, called upon the Chinese authorities to:
1. Repeal the illegal ban on the Falun Gong.
2. Rescind any laws or regulations specifically criminalizing the Falun gong as an “illegal association,” and prohibiting thereby the exercise of the fundamental freedoms of their members.
3. Release ShenLi Lin from forced labour camp- and other family members from detention – and permit ShenLi Lin to leave the country and return to Canada to be reunited with his wife Jinyu Li.
4. Cease and desist from any policy or practice of torture or other degrading punishment or treatment of prisons in detention.
5. Release all Falun gong members now detained in prison, forced labour camps, or psychiatric detention
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For more information
In Ottawa: Tanis