IAS calls for immediate release of Chinese activist

On 3 April 2008 the International AIDS Society (IAS) expressed grave concern over the sentencing of Hu Jia – a prominent Chinese human rights activist – on charges of subversion, and called for Mr Jia’s immediate and unconditional release.

IAS President, Pedro Cahn, referred to Mr Jia’s sentence as a failure of justice.

“Hu Jia is highly respected as a human rights activist all over the world. He has dedicated his life to fighting against injustice in China, at great personal risk. His continued harassment by authorities, arrest and subsequent sentencing is a violation of his human rights, and an insult by the Chinese authorities to the global human rights movement,” said Dr Cahn. “We are also concerned for Hu’s health. He needs daily medication for his hepatitis infection and is in the early stages of sclerosis of the liver.”

Hu is most widely known as an advocate for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS in China, and has been honoured with a number of international awards for his efforts. His work on HIV/AIDS is widely credited within China amongst government authorities and civil society groups. According to available information, Hu’s conviction and sentencing are not in relation to his HIV/AIDS work.

“This is the time for China to be improving its image. The eyes of the world are on Beijing ahead of the Olympic Games, and we urge the Chinese government to seize this opportunity to improve its record on human rights, and release Hu Jia immediately,” said Dr Cahn.

On 2 April, Hu was sentenced to three and half years in prison on charges of subversion. He was convicted in a trial last month.

The IAS is the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals, with more than 10,000 members from 172 countries. The IAS is a non-profit organization founded in 1988, and acts as an independent voice in the global response to AIDS on behalf of its members.

Source: IAS press release (April 2008)

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