Urgent Appeal: Widow of Olympic Torture Victim Faces Immediate Sentencing for Practicing Falun Gong

After husband died of torture, wife is at risk of long-term imprisonment

New York—The widow of a well-known musician and Falun Gong adherent who died from abuse in police custody is scheduled to be sentenced to a potentially long prison term in a Beijing Court on Tuesday morning Beijing time (Monday evening EST).

Ms. Xu Na and her husband Yu Zhou, a popular folk band member, were arrested in Beijing on January 26 while returning home from a performance by Yu’s band. They were stopped by police at one of many check-points setup throughout Beijing in the run-up to the Olympics as part of Beijing’s efforts to stamp out potential dissent before the Games began. During the stop, police discovered they were practitioners of Falun Gong.

Eleven days later, Yu’s family was told to go to the Qinghe Emergency Center. When his family arrived, they found him dead. (news) Soon after, Yu’s death was mourned in the Chinese blogosphere and reported on by The (London) Times (news). It was also included in a recent submission by Amnesty International to the United Nations Committee on Torture (news)

His wife Xu Na, herself an award-winning artist, has remained in detention since the couple’s arrest. In April, her family was notified that she was to be charged with “using a heretical organization to undermine implementation of the law,” a vague provision of the penal code commonly used to sentence Falun Gong adherents to prison terms of up to 12 years. (Amnesty report)

According to sources inside China, Beijing’s Chongwen District Court is scheduled to announce the result of the trial against Xu on November 25, at 9am (Beijing time). The court’s address is 10 Yong Wai Ding An Li, Chongwen District, Beijing.

Xu has been represented by Mr. Cheng Hai of Yitong Law Firm, a well-known human rights lawyer, who has pleaded Xu’s innocence. She was released in 2006 after serving a five year sentence for having lent her apartment to Falun Gong adherents traveling to Beijing to appeal to the authorities for an end to the persecution campaign. While in detention, she was reportedly subjected to torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, forced-feeding, and being tied into uncomfortable positions for hours.

The Falun Dafa Information Center urges members of the foreign media and diplomatic corps to seek to observe the hearing, fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Xu’s trial, and call for her immediate and unconditional release.

For more information and a timeline of Xu’s case see: /article/675/?cid=84