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Human Rights Organizations Issue Joint Petition to the UN for Gao Zhisheng

ICC Note: Human Rights advocates file petition with UN on behalf of Gao

2/5/10 China (ChinaAid)—Earlier today, on the one-year anniversary of Gao’s disappearance, Freedom Now partnered with international human rights specialists Jerome A. Cohen, Irwin Cotler MP, David Matas, and David Kilgour to file a petition with the UN Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances.

The petition informs the UN Working Group of the violations of Criminal Procedure in Gao’s case and requests immediate assistance from the UN in ascertaining the whereabouts and condition of Gao Zhisheng. (See Freedom Now’s petition and press release.)

Faith-based human rights organizations Advocates International, China Aid Association, and Jubilee Campaign praise Freedom Now, in a joint statement, for taking Gao’s case to the UN.

“Freedom Now’s long track record of successful interventions filed with the United Nations ensures that the international community will remain relentless in securing Mr. Gao’s release, ” Executive Director of Jubilee Campaign Ann Buwalda remarked.

Advocates International’s General Counsel Sam B. Casey weighed in on the legal contradictions the Chinese government presents by denying Gao Zhisheng his civil rights in court, while President of ChinaAid Bob Fu called the withheld information, false reports and vague commentary by the Chinese government on Gao’s condition and whereabouts “indefensible and unacceptable.”

Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was seized by a dozen police officers and last seen in public on February 4, 2009. He has been repeatedly kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities for defending the persecuted. He has been an unyielding and iconic advocate for justice in the Chinese courts and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for his excellent human rights work.

Rumors of Gao Zhisheng’s death have circulated since December 2009, later disputed by reports of Gao going “missing” from Chinese police custody. On January 21st, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu vaguely acknowledged Gao was “where he should be, ” but yesterday commented that he did not know where Gao Zhisheng was. “China has 1.3 billion people and I can’t know all of their whereabouts.”