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China: Protestant pastor seriously ill following beating by prison officials

The human rights organisation urging the authorities to take immediate measures to guarantee Gong Shengliang's safety.

Gong Shengliang, leader of the banned 'Huanan Church', was originally sentenced to death in December 2001 after the 'Huanan Church' was banned in April that year. Because of a lack of evidence the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in October 2002.

At the end of 2002 Gong Shengliang was transferred to Jingzhou prison where he has been tortured and ill-treated. He has reportedly been beaten for refusing to admit guilt and for requesting an appeal. He is being held in incommunicado detention and is under close surveillance.

According to an appeal signed by his friends and family, Gong Shengliang has been unable to leave his bed in last two weeks. He was apparently in a coma for several days after one beating and has not been given medical treatment for his injuries.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'The serious medical condition of Gong Shengliang is deeply concerning. To persecute and torture somebody for their beliefs in this way contravenes all international human rights principles.'

Amnesty International is calling for Gong Shengliang to be provided with appropriate medical treatment, given guarantees that he will not be subjected to further torture or ill-treatment and given access to a lawyer of his choice.

The organisation is calling on the authorities to conduct an immediate review of the evidence used to convict the Protestant priest, as there is a concern that they are obtained through torture.

The organisation is urging supporters to take action by appealing to:

Director of the Hubei Provincial Department of Justice
Lu Dexi Tingzhang
16 Hongshancelu
Wuchang, Wuhanshi
Hubeisheng 430071
People's Republic of China
Telegram: Justice Department Director, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China

Governor of the Hubei Provincial People's Government
Luo Qingquan Shengzhang
Hubeisheng Renmin Zhengfu
1 Beihuanlu
Wuchangqu, Wuhanshi
Peoples Republic of China
Telegram: Governor, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China

Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China
Zhang Fusen Bzhang
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu
Beijinghi 100020, People's Republic of China
Telegram: Minister of Justice, Beijing, China
Fax: 00 86 10 65 292345 (c/o Ministry of Communications)

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