Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

September 25, 2013 15:31 ET

Public Statement: The Law Society of Upper Canada Expresses Grave Concerns About the Ongoing Detention of Ni Yulan in China

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 25, 2013) - The Law Society of Upper Canada* is gravely concerned about the ongoing detention of lawyer Ni Yulan in China.

According to reports, Ni Yulan is a lawyer and prominent and outspoken activist against forced evictions in China. She was jailed three times over the last 10 years for her work as an activist lawyer. In April 2012, the Xicheng District People's Court rendered its latest sentence in Ni Yulan's case, ordering a two-year prison term following her conviction on charges of fraud and causing disturbance.

Ni Yulan practised law for 18 years, but her licence to practise law was revoked in 2002. She has defended people who have been forcibly evicted from their homes by housing developers across China since 2001.

The Law Society is concerned about the ongoing detention of Ni Yulan. Ni Yulan has become frailer during her two-and-a-half year prison sentence at the Xicheng District Detention Centre. She now suffers from respiratory, heart, and digestive problems. Her weight has dropped to an alarming level and she can no longer walk.

Ni Yulan now suffers from a tumor in her thyroid that is as large as an egg and keeps growing. There is concern that the tumor may be malignant. Her request for medical parole was recently refused, even though recent reports indicate the prison may not have adequate medical facilities to treat the growth there. If Ni Yulan does not receive immediate medical attention, it may be too late to treat her tumor.

In the past, the Law Society of Upper Canada has repeatedly condemned the persecution and ill-treatment of lawyers in China, including the treatment of human rights lawyers Gao Zhisheng, Zheng Enchong, Chen Guangcheng, Li Jianqiang, Teng Baio and Li Heping.

International human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, state that respect for human rights are essential to advancing the rule of law.

The Law Society urges the government of the People's Republic of China to:

  1. release Ni Yulan immediately, as she is a prisoner of conscience, and reinstate her lawyer licence;
  2. provide her immediately with proper medical care and treatment;
  3. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ni Yulan;
  4. provide Ni Yulan with regular access to her lawyer and family;
  5. conduct a fair, impartial and independent investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment against Ni Yulan in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply to them civil, penal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
  6. guarantee that adequate reparation is provided to Ni Yulan as a victim of abuses;
  7. put an end to all acts of harassment against Ni Yulan as well as other human rights defenders in China;
  8. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with human rights standards.

*The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for some 45,800 lawyers and 5,100 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada. The Treasurer is the head of the Law Society.

The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

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