BEIJING – A Chinese lawyer who defended residents forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for development was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday for obstructing official duties, her husband said.
Ni Yulan, 47, was arrested in April for allegedly assaulting a worker who along with police was trying to demolish her family’s house in an old neighborhood in central Beijing, her husband Dong Jiqin said.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said it was Ni who was assaulted when one of the workers hit her on the head with a brick.
Dong said his wife was sentenced to two years in prison at a 2 1/2-hour, closed-door trial. He said she plans to appeal.
Dong said the trial was originally scheduled for Aug. 4, four days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, but was postponed. He did not know the reason.
“There were too many foreign journalists before the Olympics and the court did not want this case to raise too much attention,” he said.
The Xicheng People’s Court could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Ni had numerous run-ins with authorities after starting to help those whose homes in Beijing’s traditional neighborhoods were being demolished to make way for development for the Olympics, according to Human Rights Watch.
She previously served one year in prison after complaining to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the country’s legislature, about being beaten by police, the group said.
Dong said Ni was beaten by police during her latest detention.