GENEVA (23 December 2011) – UN human rights experts* on Friday denounced the continued secret detention of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who was arrested in 2006. They expressed concern at recent news that a Beijing court has withdrawn Mr. Gao’s five-year probation and ordered him to serve a three-year sentence. The probation of Mr. Gao, whose whereabouts have been unknown for the last 20 months, was to end this week.

“It is alarming that Mr. Gao continues to be arbitrarily detained. His detention over the years has resulted in various human rights violations, including his fundamental right to a fair trial. I urge the authorities to release Mr. Gao,” stated El Hadji Malick Sow, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which issued an opinion in 2010 declaring Gao’s detention arbitrary as it lacked any legal basis.

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