Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that rights defender Guo Feixiong, in custody for nearly 200 days, has been transferred back to Guangzhou after being sent to Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, in January 2007.
Guo Feixiong (also known as Yang Maodong), who provided legal advice in a number of controversial rights defense cases, was detained in Guangzhou on September 14, 2006, and formally arrested on September 30, 2006 on suspicion of "illegal business activity." According to the indictment against Guo, the allegation stems from some editing work he did for a book published in Liaoning Province regarding a political scandal in Shenyang City.
On January 6, 2007, Guo's wife, Zhang Qing, received a letter from Guo informing her that the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB) had referred Guo's case to the Tianhe District branch of the Guangzhou Municipal Procuratorate, but on January 19, the procuratorate sent the case back to the PSB for supplementary investigation. On January 20, Guo's case was transferred to Liaoning Province, and Guo himself was transferred to the Liaoning Provincial Detention Center. On February 17, Guo's case was again referred to the Tianhe District Procuratorate, only to be sent back to the Guangzhou PSB once again for supplementary investigation on March 1. According to the Criminal Procedure Law, which provides for the procuratorate to send the case back for up to two rounds of supplementary investigations, this is the last time the case can be sent back to the PSB.
Sources in China told HRIC that on April 2 Zhang Qing was told by the Tianhe District Procuratorate informing her that Guo had been brought back to Guangzhou and is now being held in the Guangzhou Municipal No. 3 Detention Center. She was also told that the Guangzhou PSB submitted the file on Guo's supplementary investigation to the procuratorate on March 30. According to the Criminal Procedure Law, the Guangzhou Procuratorate should make a decision on whether to proceed with the case by May 15, 2007.
Guo has told his lawyer and family of severely abusive treatment in custody on a number of occasions since he was first detained. He has gone on hunger strike several times to protest his treatment.
HRIC urges the authorities to ensure that Guo Feixiong's rights to due process are protected while he awaits the decision as to whether his case will proceed. Further, in advance of its review by the United Nations Committee Against Torture in May 2008, HRIC calls on the authorities to investigate the allegations of abusive treatment of Guo in detention and take steps to ensure that he is not subject to further abuse.