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IFJ urges medical parole for jailed writer Hu Jia

(IFJ/IFEX) - January 19, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is calling on Wu Aiying, the Minister of Justice of China, to arrange prompt treatment and medical parole for jailed writer Hu Jia.

The IFJ has learned that Hu Jia, who was imprisoned in 2008, is suffering from severe and unexplained abdominal pain. According to a letter of petition from Hu's wife Zeng Jinyan, the writer was suffering with this condition on Friday January 14 when she visited him in Beijing Prison. Hu has since been transferred to the prison's hospital, but Zeng was prevented from accompanying him and has not been updated on his condition since.

"The IFJ has significant concerns that medical treatment may have been denied to Hu while he has been in prison," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

"The Beijing Prison administration must provide good medical care to an inmate, and the IFJ calls for all necessary treatment be provided to Hu Jia as a matter of urgency."

Hu, who was convicted in 2008 of inciting subversion of state power for accepting foreign media interviews and publishing articles online, is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence.

Hu's health has deteriorated since 2009, with Zeng saying her husband has liver problems and is suspected to suffer from liver cancer. Zeng repeatedly asked the administration of Beijing Prison to conduct a comprehensive examination and allow medical parole for Hu but her requests were denied.

"This is the seventh time I have demanded the same thing - I've asked six times but none of the requests have been accepted," Zeng said.

The IFJ calls on Minister of Justice Wu Aiying to conduct an investigation and instruct Beijing Prison to swiftly arrange for treatment and medical parole for the writer.

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