EU demands China to release political prisoners

Hong Kong, Jan. 29 : The European Union (EU) has demanded China to investigate a harrowing account of torture by a detained lawyer and release several political prisoners.

Detained rights lawyer Xie Yang detailed his treatment in detention last week, where he was allegedly beaten, forced into stress positions, denied medical care and deprived food, drink and sleep by the police, reports the Guardian.

Separate reports have said that two other civil rights attorneys, Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang, have also been tortured while in custody.

"If verified, this mistreatment would amount to torture. All necessary measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these individuals need to be taken," the European Union's foreign affairs spokesperson said in a rare statement.

"If the accounts of mistreatment or torture are confirmed, this should result in the punishment of the responsible persons," the statement added, citing China's own laws that prohibit torture.

All three were detained in July 2015, part of an unprecedented nation-wide crackdown on human rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists.

Nearly 250 people were targeted during the campaign. "We reiterate our call for the release of the lawyers and human rights defenders who remain in detention, including Jiang Tianyong," the EU statement said.

The EU statement comes just days after a group of leading lawyers and judges expressed "grave concern" over the detention of legal professionals.

Source: ANI