Teen suspect’s new lawyers in gang rape case slam media, police for privacy breach

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-11 0:43:01

The new defense lawyers of one of the suspects in a high-profile gang rape case have slammed the media for naming their client even though he is a minor, and therefore subject to privacy laws.

The name of the minor, surnamed Li, was released in connection with an alleged gang rape that took place in Beijing in February.

Li is the son of two high-profile People's Liberation Army singers.

"It is the duty of the media to protect minors and they are also obliged to protect the senior artists who have devoted their lives to singing for the people," reads a statement released by the lawyers Wednesday.

The statement also accused the police of infringing Li's privacy for releasing his name.

It adds that the media reports after the police notice have damaged the reputation of Li's father.

The public security bureau in Beijing's Haidian district circulated a notice on February 22 which named Li, announcing that five people, four minors and one adult, were in detention after the victim reported to police that she had been raped on February 17. 

One of Li's two new lawyers, Chen Shu, from Beijing Jinglian Law Firm, told the Legal Mirror, a Beijing-based newspaper, on Wednesday that they would enter a plea of innocence in court. Li's previous lawyer, Xue Zhenyuan, resigned from the case last month.

Yan Xin, a lawyer from the Beijing Yijia Law Firm who specializes in administrative law, said that while it is written in the law for the protection of minors that names should not be disclosed, there is no punishment in the law for doing so.

"And it's the media's job to expose even the ugly side of the news," said Yan.

Liu Dalai, a criminal lawyer from Beijing Lianggao Law Firm, agreed.

"On the one hand, it concerns the rights of privacy of the suspects; on the other hand, it also concerns other citizens' rights to know and take precautions against the hazardous factors in our society," Liu said.

Usually, information of the suspects' family members should not be circulated, as it would be irrelevant to the case, according to Liu, "but the public has long known the father-son relationship."

According to a notice Tuesday on the website of the Haidian district court, a trial date will be set soon.

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