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Defense lawyer to appeal against jail term

THE former attorney for a suspected mob boss in Chongqing was jailed for two and a half years today for falsifying evidence and obstructing testimony.

Li Zhuang and his lawyer Gao Zicheng, who represented Shanghai's former Party chief Cheng Liangyu in his corruption case, pleaded not guilty and said they will appeal, reported Xinhua news agency.

Li's former client Gong Gangmo, who allegedly led a "murder club" in Chongqing, told police on December 10 that the Beijing-based criminal defense lawyer promised him lighter punishment if he withdrew his confession in court and lied that he was tortured into making the statement.

The lawyer was arrested two days after Gong tipped police off. His case developed surprisingly fast, according to Li's lawyer Gao. Gao said the court opened trial only one day after prosecutors filed the suit and left him barely any time to prepare a defense.

Heated debate between the defense team and prosecutors lasted for more than 16 hours on December 30, yet all seven witnesses related to Li's case did not appear in court. Prosecutors said that's because they were all in detention.

Chen Jiuhong, deputy head of Chongqing Jiangbei District Procuratorate, told China Youth Daily they had no material evidence that Li had advised his client to lie and the arrest was based on Gong's allegations.

In a separate trial for Gong and his alleged gang members that started on Tuesday, all suspects except Gong said in court that they were tortured into confession, according to Southern Weekend yesterday.


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