U.N. rights boss urges China to release lawyers, treat HK booksellers fairly

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 16, 2016 4:37 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - The top United Nations human rights official urged China on Tuesday to release all lawyers detained since July, including 15 arrested last month, saying it was wrong to prosecute or sanction them for their work.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, also voiced concern for five booksellers from Hong Kong who have gone missing and urged Beijing authorities to ensure a "fair and transparent procedure" for their cases.

"We are seeing a very worrying pattern in China that has serious implications for civil society and the important work they do across the country," Zeid said in a statement, voicing fears that a Chinese draft law on non-governmental organizations would curb freedoms of expression and assembly.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Kevin Liffey)