1k lawyers censure police abuse of colleague

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2016-6-7 0:58:01

Attorney attacked, clothes ripped by officers in Guangxi courthouse

Over 1,000 Chinese lawyers have signed a joint letter in support of a fellow lawyer from South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region who claimed to have been severely beaten by local courthouse police for refusing a body check.

Wu Liangshu, a lawyer from Guangxi Guohai Law Firm, claimed that he was brutally beaten up and his clothes were ripped by police officers at the People's Court in the Qingxiu district of Nanning, Guangxi on Friday after he refused to hand over his cellphone, news site caixin.com reported on Friday.

According to Wu, he was hired to file a lawsuit on Friday morning, but the court declined to accept his suit. He then asked the court to issue a receipt, but the court's staff members called police officers to forcibly check Wu's cellphone, as they suspected he was using his cellphone to make a recording.

"They laid me down and stepped on my chest. They even tore my trousers, choked my neck, covered my mouth and smashed my cellphone," Wu told caixin.com.

Wu denied making a recording and said that Chinese law only bans people from recording or filming during trials.

The incident has sparked outrage among lawyers nationwide, with over 1,000 of them jointly signing a letter to demand that the court release surveillance videos of the incident.

In the letter, the group also demanded that the involved court police officers be punished for misuse of force.

Mao Lixin, a criminal lawyer with the Beijing-based Shangquan Law Firm and one of the initiators of the public letter, told the Global Times on Monday that it is common for Chinese courts to refuse to give lawyers receipts and to treat them violently.

"Chinese courts should issue receipts when receiving a lawsuit, in accordance with the requirements of China's Supreme People's Court. I hope Wu's incident can help improve the situation and safeguard lawyers' rights," said Mao.

However, the district court said in a statement published on its official website on Friday night that Wu admitted that he had made a recording at the court with his cellphone but refused to hand over his phone after over 30 minutes of negotiation. The court police then forcibly checked a cellphone that Wu held tight in his pocket, causing his trousers to tear.

The statement said the police offered him a new pair of trousers, but Wu refused. The court vowed to further investigate and to seriously punish the officers if they are found to have violated regulations.

The Lawyers' Association in Nanning also released a statement on Friday, saying that the court's head has apologized to Wu twice and will reveal the truth and safeguard Wu's legal rights. The All China Lawyers Association also said Monday that they have stepped in to help with the case.

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