BEIJING (AP) — Several prominent lawyers in China have signed a letter urging a court to explain its detention of a rights lawyer after he defended a practitioner of the banned Falun Gong cult.
Wang Quanzhang was detained Wednesday at the end of a trial at Jinjiang People's Court in eastern Jiangsu province. A statement from the court posted online said he was in violation of a court order and the circumstances were "serious," but gave no further details.
Other lawyers say he is the subject of a 10-day judicial detention. According to Chinese law, a court is entitled to issue warnings, fines or order the detention of those who fail to follow court rules.
"The detention arouses the anxieties of the lawyers and makes them feel unsafe when defending in court in the future," said Li Fangping on Friday. He is one of the signatories of a letter sent to court officials and lawyers associations urging the court to suspend and explain Wang's detention and release the court video of proceedings.
A statement posted by Wang's assistant Huang Dejia on Sina Weibo said that during the trial the judge confiscated Wang's mobile phone after he took a photo of evidence.
Calls to Jinjiang People's Court rang unanswered Friday. It said on Wednesday that Wang was detained after defending a person charged with "using an evil cult to undermine implementation of the law."
The Falun Gong spiritual movement is outlawed in China.