Entries in Imprisonment (3)


Chinese Activist Jailed for Nine Years

Getty/Geor​ge Doyle/Thin​kstock(BEIJING) -- A Chinese activist was sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday for inciting subversion.

Chen Wei, who was arrested along with several activists during a government crackdown in February, was sentenced in a closed door trial in a Suining court, in Sichuan province.

Chen, 42, wrote online essays in which he criticized the Chinese government and called for freedom of speech. Wei insisted that he was not guilty but merely expressing his opinion.

BBC news reports that according to Mr. Chen's lawyer Zheng Jianwei, his client told the court: "Dictatorship will fail, democracy will prevail."

Chen was also arrested and jailed for protesting during the 1989 in Tiananmen Square.

The nine year sentence is the longest imposed so far on an activist.

"This severe punishment against an activist, caught up in the Jasmine crackdown, shows how the Chinese government's nerves are still jittery," said Wang Songlian, a researcher with the Hong Kong-based advocacy group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Copyright 2011ABC News Radio


Hiker Sarah Shourd Won't Return to Iran to Attend Espionage Trial

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- American Sarah Shourd, who was held in captivity in Iran for more than a year, says that there's no way she'll be returning to that country to stand trial next week on espionage charges.

Shourd and her two male companions, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were hiking in northern Iraq on July 31, 2009 when they were taken into custody by Iranian soldiers, who claimed the trio had illegally crossed over into their territory.

For over 14 months, Shourd was kept in solitary confinement until she was released by Iranian authorities after posting $500,000 bail in September of 2010.  Bauer, to who Shourd became engaged to in prison, and Fattal were not freed and face the possibility of long jail sentences if convicted of spying for the U.S., charges vehemently denied by their families and the U.S. State Department.

While Shourd wants desperately to be with Bauer and Fattal during their trying time, she says that going back to Iran would aggravate the depression and post traumatic stress she has suffered from her ordeal.

Obviously conflicted about her decision, Shourd, now 32, said, "I worry about their safety, I worry about their mental health.  We've had no information from them, no contact, phone call, nothing for over five months... what I've heard is that they now have only 40 minutes out of their cell every day."

Shourd contends that Bauer and Fattal are caught in a "political tug-of-war" between the U.S. and Iran.  The two governments broke off diplomatic relations in 1979 when Iranian revolutionaries stormed the American Embassy in Tehran and held 53 people hostage for 444 days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Meets with American Hiker After Her Imprisonment in Iran

Photo Courtesy -- The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Late Thursday evening, the White House announced that President Obama met privately with American hiker Sarah Shourd, who was released after more than a year’s imprisonment in Iran, and with the families of the two American men, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who are stilll being held.

The White House said in a statement, “We remain hopeful that Iran will demonstrate renewed compassion and do the right thing by ensuring the safe return of Shane, Josh and all the other missing or detained Americans in Iran."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio