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Bloggers who exposed gang-rape sentenced in Fuzhou

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the jail sentences which a court in the southern city of Fuzhou passed on 16 April 2010 on three bloggers – Fan Yanqiong, You Jingyou and Wu Huaying – who took up the case of a mother who was calling on the authorities to reopen the investigation into her daughter's death.

Convicting them on charges of defamation and disturbing public order, the court imposed a two-year sentence on Fan and one-year sentences on You and Wu for posting information online supporting the mother's claim that her daughter died after being gang-raped by individuals with links to the police rather than as a result of a miscarriage, as the authorities claim.

Reporters Without Borders regards the verdict as an intolerable judicial farce that solely benefits local officials. The three bloggers, who have been unjustly punished for trying to bring the truth to light, must be freed at once and their conviction must be overturned.

The press freedom organisation also hails the show of support they received from the thousands of people who gathered outside the courthouse on 16 April. An article about the trial that was posted on the official news agency Xinhua's website was removed a few hours later. Nonetheless many posts and photos relating to the case are currently accessible online in China.

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