Chariwoman Hautala received with contentment the news over the release of a writer and activist He Depu, on 23 January 2011 after completing eight years in prison on charges of ‘inciting subversion of state power’. It has, however, been reported that Mr He Depu was beaten up shortly after his exit from prison by police officers. [:]He is understood to have been briefly taken to Zhanlan Road Public Security station in Xicheng District in Beijing.
Chairwoman Hautala expressed concern over his safety as witnesses have reported of him receiving injuries in neck and hands upon the attack. This concern is exacerbated by the reports that Mr He Depu suffered severe, lengthy torture and violence during his eight year long sentence at the Beijing No. 2 Prison. He also developed serious health problems during the imprisonment. Request by his wife for Mr He Depu for a medical parole was refused by the authorities in February 2008.
Mr. He Depu was detained in November 2002 after signing with 191 people an open letter to the 16th Party Congress calling, amongst other things, for democratic elections, political reforms, China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to free all political prisoners. He continued his critical work and commentary from prison, among other things, via open letter sent to Mr Jacques Rogge, the President of International Olympic Committee, testifying that the bringing of the Olympic Games to China had worsened the prison conditions. It is understood that he suffered the attack upon his release due to this activism.
Chairwoman Hautala calls for the authorities to promptly investigate the attack, end his harassment and allowe him to carry on with his advocacy on the human rights field without fear of persecution.