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Li Yufang Released, Mistreated During Imprisonment

December 19, 2014

Shanghai rights defender, Li Yufang (李玉芳), was released from prison on December 18, 2014 after completing a one-year sentence for “obstructing official business.”

Li Yufang told Human Rights in China that on the day of her release, the vice-president of the Shanghai Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, a judge of the Yangpu District Court, police officers of the Daqiao Public Security sub-station in Yangpu District, and staff members of the neighborhood government office, pressured her to sign a "release on bail pending investigation” document. Li firmly refused because her appeal for a second-instance trial is still pending, and she has already completed her prison sentence. Thwarted, the authorities then attempted to make her sign a “residential surveillance” document, which she also refused.

According to Li, after a five-hour stand-off, officers from the Daqiao Public Security sub-station forcibly dragged her into a police vehicle, and then tossed her out on a road near her home. Still wearing her prison uniform, she chased after the police, and then brought the matter to the Daqiao neighborhood government office. There, she was roughed up by the office supervisor.

Li also detailed her conditions during detention. She said that guards made her cell-mates watch her. One time, she was forced to stand facing the wall for six whole days, and only when she was about to black out did the punishment stop. In detention, she was not given treatment for her hemorrhoid condition; the guards also did not allow her to use her own quilt; in June, in the heat of summer, she was not allowed to wash her clothes for ten days; and her eye ointment, toothbrush, and other toiletry items were taken away and still have not been returned.

Li stated that, even though she has been freed, she is determined to continue on the path of rights defense, fight to the end, and never succumb to corrupt forces.

Backgound

Li Yufang had petitioned for more than a decade to seek compensation for the forced requisition of her family home. On December 19, 2013, she petitioned outside government offices for help in applying for welfare, and was striking a steel bowl to get attention. After a police officer grabbed her bowl, she pulled on the officer's clothing in an attempt to retrieve it. The police officer said, “I’ve been an officer for four years, and this is the first time someone has pulled at my clothes. I don’t know if I’m ruthless or if you are,” and then took Li to the Pingliang Public Security sub-station in a police vehicle. On January 2, 2014 Li was formally arrested, and on July 4, 2014, she was found guilty of “obstructing official business” by the Yangpu District People's Court in Shanghai, and received a one-year prison sentence. On July 14, 2014, she appealed to the Shanghai Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court.

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