China frees human rights lawyer on bail

Beijing, Jan 6 (IANS) Chinese authorities have released a prominent human rights lawyer on bail after detaining him for a year and a half without trial.

The news was confirmed to Efe by Xie Yanyi’s wife Yuan Shanshan, who was informed on Thursday that he had been released from prison.

Yuan, who lives in Beijing, has faced a lot of pressure from the authorities in recent months and has been forced to change houses several times.

The lawyer is still under police surveillance but he told his wife he hopes to be reunited with her as soon as possible in the first conversation between the two in the last year and a half.

Yuan, who gave birth to the couple’s third child during this period, said police asked her for photos and videos of the baby to use them to exert pressure on her husband.

Xie is one among hundreds of human rights lawyers arrested in July 2015 from several cities of China as part of the 709 campaign against all critical and dissident movements by the Communist authorities.

In January 2016, Xie was accused of state subversion, a charge frequently levelled against political prisoners, including Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.