Lawyer found guilty of subversion

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-23 14:04

Beijing-based lawyer Gao Zhisheng has received a three-year suspended prison sentence for subversion, according to a statement released by a Beijing court on Friday.

Gao was granted a five-year reprieve and deprived of his political rights for one year, which means he will not have to serve any of his sentence unless he is found guilty of another crime over the next five years.

Gao was accused of posting nine "seditious articles."

The court ruled that the articles defamed China's central government and amounted to agitation aimed at toppling it.

The court also decided that Gao had slandered the government and China's social system in 10 interviews he conducted with overseas media. Recordings of the interviews were posted on the radio stations' websites.

The statement said the court had showed leniency in the form of a five-year reprieve as Gao "voluntarily reported other people's offences and provided important clues to crack other cases."

The court said it had published the time and venue of the trial three days in advance in accordance with the provisions of the law. It also notified the prosecution and defence counsels.

Gao's family were present when the verdict was announced.

The court said it had clearly told Gao that he had the right to appoint lawyers to defend him.

Gao told the court that as a lawyer himself, he did not need any lawyer. He also refused to let his family find a lawyer for him.

Nevertheless, the court appointed two lawyers for Gao to protect his rights. Both the lawyers and Gao aired their defending opinions during the trial.

It remains unclear whether Gao will make an appeal.

Gao, 42, was a lawyer with the Beijing Shengzhi law firm before his arrest in August.

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