Monday, March 9, 2009

GOOD NEWS FROM INDIVIDUALS AT RISK PROGRAM: Ye Guozhu, housing rights activists in China, released and safe.

Ye Guozhu, housing rights activists in China, was released from prison on 15 October 2008. His family were warned by police at the time to keep news of his release secret, or Ye would be returned to custody. Amnesty International could not make this information public until the organisation considered him to be no longer in immediate danger.

His brother Ye Quoqiang said that on 29 September Ye Guozhu was forced to sign an agreement accepting compensation for his eviction. He said that Ye Guozhu was threatened with new charges and continued detention if he did not sign, and had been pressured into stating that he did not require a lawyer during his time in custody.

Ye Guozhu was sentenced to four years' imprisonment on 18 December 2004 for organizing a demonstration to oppose forced evictions in Beijing. During his four years in prison, Ye Guozhu's health had deteriorated. He was forbidden from seeing his elderly mother and father, and his mother died while he was in custody. Ye was exhausted by his ordeal and was resting and receiving medical treatment in the moths following his release.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor his situation. Thank you to everyone who campaigned on his behalf.

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