ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
Updated: March 29, 2012 09:20 AM GMT
A jailed dissident Chinese human rights lawyer has been allowed a visit from relatives for the first time since being sent back to prison last December. The government permitted the father in law and brother of Gao Zhisheng to see him in Shaya prison in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on March 24. A former celebrity lawyer who has previously defended the controversial Falun Gong movement, Gao was sent back to prison for three years after being accused of violating probation requirements. Prior to this, he had been kidnapped by police in August 2006. He was sentenced to three years in prison with a five-year probation after a secret trial. He was reported missing several times 2007-2011 and was reportedly tortured during his disappearance. Gao’s disappearance has drawn concern from the US, EU and UN while local rights groups have appealed repeatedly for his release. Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group, demanding Gao's immediate release, yesterday called for continuing public concern about the situation of all other human rights lawyers and activists in mainland China. Patrick Poon, executive secretary of the concern group, said: “It is an improvement to let Gao meet with his family but the government was wrong to put him into prison in the first place as they had already had him under house arrest for years.” “Strictly speaking, Gao did not commit any crime as he just wrote a few appeal letters to state leaders,” he added. Related reports: Activists urge release of clergy, lawyerCall for release of detained dissident
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