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Li Zhuang Launches Another Appeal
Summary:A lawyer who recently spent 18 months in a Chongqing prison is once again looking to appeal his conviction.

Economic Observer Online
By Zhang Xiaohui (张晓晖), Du Yuan (杜远) and Cheng Jiaojiao (程娇娇)
Nov 29, 2012
Translated by Zhu Na
Original article: [Chinese]

Li Zhuang (李庄), a high-profile lawyer based in Beijing who recently served 18 months in prison on charges of falsifying evidence and inciting others to bear false witness, is once again looking to appeal his conviction.

Li was initially sentenced to 30 months prion on Jan 8, 2010, a sentence which was later reduced by one year after a dramatic appeal hearing that February.

Li's case attraced much attention from China's legal community as the fiery lawyer, who had a reputation for pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable practice in China's legal system, was accused of fabricating evidence only after his client alleged that he had been tortued while being interrogated during Chongqing's high-profile crackdown on criminal gangs.

The case highlighted concerns among some lawyers that the Chongqing government was trampling legal procedure in its zeal for convictions and also appeared to involve high-level political figures.

Li Zhuang (李庄) met with representatives of Chongqing's No.1 Intermediate People's Court at 10am last Thursday.

The scene was similar to that which played out at the opening of the original trial three years ago, with a large group of reporters braving the damp cold of a Chongqing winter out the front of the Chongqing No.1 Intermediate People's court.

This time Li Zhuang was accompanied by Gong Ganghua (龚刚华), who testified as a witness during the original case involving the now jailed Gong Gangmo (龚刚模) and Chongqing police officer Xin Jianwei (忻建威), who was also once deputy commander of the command department of Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau and a secretary to Wang Lijun (the now jailed former head of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau).

Li Zhuang's son, Li Yatong (李亚童), also accompanied his father as he submitted his written request for an appeal of his convinction to the Chonqing court.

Li Yatong said that the court didn't give an exact date of when they would accept the appeal, only verbally acknowleding that they would make a decision as soon as possible.

It's still unclear whether the court has agreed to open a file on the appeal.

After the meeting between Li Zhuang and representatives of the court, Li agreed to a brief interview with the Economic Observer.

The following is a transcript of that interview.

Li Zhuang: On the afternoon of the day I was originally sentenced, I entrusted my colleague Gao Zicheng (高子程), who was also my lawyer in the first trial, to submit an appeal on my behalf. The earliest appeal was about two or three years ago.

EO reporter: When did you come to lodge the appeal? Did you come by yourself or did the court tell you to come. Did they accept your appeal?

Li Zhuang: This time they told me that I should come. Previously it was me who took initiative and came to urge them to do something.

EO reporter: That they asked you to come this time, what do you think that implies?

Li Zhuang: It means that they've officially started the procedure. In fact, this procedure should've started long ago, but it hasn't started until today, which is a little late.

EO reporter: So what are you going to do next?

Li Zhuang: The next step is to wait for the court to announce a retrial or for them to revoke the original judgment. … From the first day they detained me, I've been very optimistic. I feel this is a farce.

EO reporter: How about now?

Li Zhuang: Now I am certainly optimistic.

EO reporter: Does today mean that it's been formally accepted?

Li Zhuang: Basically, it has. The procedures still haven't been completed. It needs to go through a written procedure.

EO reporter: What do you think is the likelihood of your appeal succeeding?

Li Zhuang: 99.999 percent

Links and Sources
Caixin Media: The Li Zhuang Case
Sydney Morning Herald: Children of the revolution
Economic Observer Online: Closely-Watched Criminal Lawyer Released From Jail
Economic Observer Online: Li Zhuang Retracts Admission of Guilt Following Reduced Sentence
http://www.s1979.com: 李庄讲述王立军前秘书遭遇 再掀王立军无法无天 (image)

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