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Farmers found guilty of organizing illegal assemblies
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The three farmers found guilty of organizing unlawful assemblies in front of the Shaanxi government office last year had their appeals rejected on Wednesday at the intermediate people's court here.

Sun Hailong, deputy director of the court, told China Daily yesterday the first trial presented clear evidence of the men's guilt and the sentences must be therefore upheld.

On Aug 6, the Baqiao district people's court sentenced Qiu Tugai to four years in jail, Liang Guanshe to three years and Zhang Jianrong to one year, after finding them guilty of leading illegal assemblies.

The three men, all from the village of Liangjiajie in Baqiao, were dissatisfied with the compensation package they received after their land was used to build a road, Wang Zhanying, director of the Baqiao court, said yesterday.

"After being asked by other dissatisfied villagers to act as their representatives, the defendants organized several unlawful assemblies. They also appealed the decisions made by the municipal government in Beijing," he said.

Three assemblies were held on May 30, June 7 and Aug 20 of last year in front of the provincial and municipal government office buildings, disturbing the social order, he said.

Feng Weiguo, a professor of criminal law at Northwest Law University, told China Daily that although people have the right to free speech, they must exercise that right in a proper manner.

(China Daily November 14, 2008)

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