Eight years ago, Nian Bin, a young man from the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian was arrested for smuggling drugs and sentenced to death, in spite of his protestations that he was forced to confess through violent means during interrogation. His last chance of a reprieve will come when the appeal case reaches the Supreme People's Court in Beijing this year. Nian's sister Nian Jianlan, meanwhile, has traveled in search of expert testimony to help his case to Hong Kong, where she spoke to RFA's Cantonese Service:
I have been working with [Hong Kong University professor] Wu Huaying to help my brother on death row, and we are giving each other mutual support and encouragement.
This is about a person's life, and I think every person's life should be treated with respect.
The experts called by the Fujian provincial police department in the case twisted everything around and distorted the facts of the case.
I am very, very worried.
I have come to Hong Kong because the courts still haven't overturned this miscarriage of justice. I think the main reason for that lies with the police.
Science knows no boundaries, so I am looking for experts in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong who can analyze [the original forensic] report.
The experts I spoke to said that there are problems with the toxicology report, and some Chinese media were planning to cover this case.
But power is mightier than human rights; mightier than anything. There are lots of problem areas, but I have no legal process to correct them with, and it's well nigh impossible to get [China's rubber-stamp parliament] National People's Congress (NPC) deputies to help.
Everyone is worthy of dignity. No one should have their wounds laid bare for others to see. But there is no other path left for us to take.
A lot of media people felt sorry for me, and would like to expose this case, but in the end they got back to me and said they were sorry, but the story has been killed.
My little brother's fate is in the hands of the higher authorities, instead of being subject to justice and the law.
So many issues have emerged [about this case], and yet they just use their power to suppress and distort them.
I have had to put matters of life and death to one side [while I fight this]. But it's not just my brother who is being harmed. This has been devastating to our family.
My father died of grief and hatred three months after my brother went into jail. My mother has lost her mind because of it.
My family has been smashed to pieces, and I haven't been home since.
Last Sept. 2, on the first day of school, [the authorities] sought out my nephew and made all manner of threats to him, terrorizing him.
They have routinely put us under surveillance for the past few years. What crime have I committed? All I did was file a legal appeal on behalf of my relative.
Reported by Wen Yuqing for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.