More than 200 citizens across China urged the parliament, which begins its annual session later this week, to free the human rights lawyers detained over seven months ago.
A letter signed by 243 people, ranging from activists to lawyers, and obtained by EFE on Thursday, called for freeing the lawyers, targeted during a crackdown by authorities.
The letter noted the government crackdown last July, when more than 200 lawyers or law firm employees working on cases involving dissidents, activists or people with complaints against the government were arrested or questioned.
The signatories said 19 people remain in custody.
“These lawyers were brave enough to take on sensitive cases and to fight them using rational arguments, with respect and a sense of justice,” the letter said, adding that none of the detainees have been able to meet with their families or have access to legal counsel.
Activists, dissidents and petitioners – aggrieved citizens who travel to Beijing to seek justice from the government – come in large numbers during the annual session of the National People’s Congress, attended by political leaders from all parts of the country, trying to take advantage of the huge media attention during the session.