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Imprisoned Internet journalist allegedly beaten in detention, denied adequate care as health deteriorates

(WiPC/IFEX) - WiPC (PEN) is alarmed by reports that Internet writer Guo Qizhen has been ill treated in detention. PEN is also concerned that he has been denied access to family visits and adequate health care, in violation of Chinese and international law.

Guo is serving a four-year sentence on subversion charges for his critical writings and pro-democracy activities. PEN considers journalist Guo Qizhen to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China became a signatory in 1998, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN's information, cyber-dissident Guo Qizhen was arrested at his home on 12 May 2006 and charged with "inciting subversion of state power" for his pro-democracy activities and anti-government articles published on overseas websites. He was sentenced to four years in prison on 16 October.

Guo was suffering from a broken leg at the time of his arrest, and his health has reportedly deteriorated in prison due to lack of adequate health care and ill-treatment. On 17 April 2007, he was transferred to the No.4 Prison in Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei Province, where he was denied family visits until 18 June, when his wife was finally able to see him. At this visit his wife reported that he had sustained serious bruising, allegedly as a result of beatings by fellow inmates orchestrated by prison guards.

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