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Cyber-dissident Huang Qi still detained, in very poor health

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of Huang Qi, a cyber-dissident who was arrested on 11 June 2008 in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, on a charge of "illegal possession of state secrets" after posting accounts of the previous month's earthquake on his human rights website. Still awaiting trial, Huang is now in very poor health.

His wife, Zeng Li, his mother, his Beijing-based lawyer Mo Shaoping, and another lawyer went to visit him in Chengdu prison on 26 May but only Mo, who is seeking his release, was allowed to see him. Mo recently also called for the released Liu Xiaobo, an intellectual whose "house arrest" without trial for more than six months was "illegal", he said.

"We call for Huang Qi to be freed without delay as he has serious health problems and the conditions in which he is being held pose a threat to his life," Reporters Without Borders said. "He needs access to treatment urgently. His wife's account shows how desperately he needs help."

Read the testimony of his wife:

Huang Qi originally created his website, Tianwang ( ), as a bulletin board for messages about missing persons. He was first arrested in June 2000, on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, for posting articles on the site that he had obtained from dissident organisations based abroad.

He was finally sentenced on 9 May 2003 to five years in prison on a charge of "trying to overthrow state authority" under articles 103 and 105 of the criminal code. His wife, who had not seen him since his arrest, was not notified about the hearing in which the verdict and sentence were announced.

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