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Chinese disabled dissident, husband jailed for 'fraud'

world Updated: Apr 10, 2012 23:44 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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A disabled lawyer known for defending people evicted from their homes and her husband have been jailed for disturbance and fraud.

Ni Yulan and her husband Dong Jiqin were detained in April last year when security officers rounded up activists for allegedly making online pleas to come out and mirror protests like those that were happening across the Arab world and North Africa at that time.

Daughter, Dong Xuan, said then that the trial had been "a very abnormal legal process". "This is completely unfair, I urge the government to release my parents," she told AFP news agency after the sentencing on Tuesday.

"Both my parents looked very thin. I was unable to see my mother's face, she didn't turn around. She was in a wheelchair and looked very weak. My father saw me and asked me how I was. He told me that he was OK."

Prosecutors alleged that disabled and wheelchair-bound Ni Yulan, and Dong had "willfully occupied" a room in a hotel.

But according to the jailed duo, the hotel was a "black jail", where they were forced to stay in 2010 after their home was demolished in 2008.

A "black jail" is an informal detention site, such as a hotel or government guesthouse, used to hold protesters without resorting to legal procedures.

Ni has been an outspoken advocate for Chinese residents forced from their homes to make way for development.

According to Reuter's news agency, an unnamed court spokesman said the couple had not paid 69,972 Yuan ($11,100) in hotel fees, had stopped visitors from registering at the hotel, had torn up the hotel's registration book and had abused the hotel staff.

She was left disabled by a police beating in 2002 after filming the forced demolition of a client's home. Ni was again jailed and beaten by police in 2008 for defending the rights of people evicted from their homes to make way for Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics.