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Sakharov Network requests Chinese dissident Hu Jia’s release

April 15, 2010

The Sakharov Network calls on the European Parliament’s president and the countries of the European Union to take energetic action to obtain the release of imprisoned Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia on health grounds, as Hu is seriously ill.

Winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2008, Hu has been hospitalized in Beijing since 30 March, when his condition worsened. His family fears he may be suffering from liver cancer. The authorities have refused to inform the family about the results of several analyses he has undergone.

In a message to the Sakharov Network (the network of past winners of the Sakharov Prize), his wife, Zeng Jinyan, said: “I am very worried about what could happen to him if he is not treated and released as soon as possible.”

Zeng, who has herself been under house arrest in Beijing for years, yesterday formally asked the prison authorities to release Hu on medical grounds. Hu was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2008 on a charge of “inciting subversion of state authority.”

A total of 35 European Parliament members (MEPs) of the Greens, ALDE, EPP and S&D groups, including Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Graham Watson, are the first signatories of a Sakharov Network petition calling for Hu’s photo to be hung outside the parliament building in Brussels. A photo of Burmese democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who – like Hu – is a Sakharov Prize laureate, is already displayed on the building’s facade.

“When one of the Sakharov Prize laureates is in danger of dying, the European Parliament and, through it, all of Europe must use all possible means to save them,” the Sakharov Network said. “Today there is an urgent need to save Hu Jia.”

The Network added: “If China wants the Shanghai 2010 Expo, which is supposed to embody universal values, to be a success, then it must show compassion and tolerance towards its dissidents.”

For more information contact:
Sakharov Network
Phone: 33 1 44 83 84 84

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