China: prominent rights lawyer released
Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has been released after receiving a suspended sentence on Dec. 22. Zhiqiang was indicted in May on charges of fanning ethnic hatred and provoking trouble for comments that he posted online. He stood trial on Dec. 14 after more than 19 months in detention. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but all three years have been suspended. The verdict will not take effect for 10 days, during which time he will be under residential surveillance. The guilty verdict disqualifies Pu from practicing law and forces him to follow certain restrictions for a three-year period or risk imprisonment.
From Jurist, Dec. 23. Used with permission.
Note: Pu's unexpected release comes after protesters clashed with police outside the Beijing courthouse on the day of his trial, in a virtually unprecedented development.