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Shanghai activist freed after month in detention

Written by: Staff
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SHANGHAI, Apr 1 (Reuters) A Shanghai woman who went on hunger strike in support of an outspoken human rights lawyer and other activists has been released after more than a month in detention, a human rights group said.

Mao Hengfeng said she had suffered physical and mental abuse during her detention, which began on February. 13 when police put her under residential surveillance on suspicion of ''causing a disturbance in a public place'', Human Rights in China said late last night.

Mao, who was freed on Wednesday, told the group that she had been held in a Shanghai apartment. ''I was kept confined to one or two rooms, and even had to ask permission to go to the bathroom.'' ''Apart from the psychological torment, they also physically abused me,'' she said.

''They beat me on several occasions, and a police officer ... knelt on my chest and grabbed me around the neck, saying he would cause the blood to flood my brain so that the cause of death could not be determined,'' she said.

Human Rights in China said a number of other people who had also been detained at about the same time remained in custody.

Prior to her detention, Mao had taken part in a nationwide hunger strike in support of human rights activists including lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

Gao has defended dissidents and protesters and recently helped organise a rolling hunger strike to protest over police harassment of political activists.

REUTERS PG RK1313

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