BEIJING (AP) — A lawyer for the imprisoned nephew of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said his legal team would likely miss Thursday's deadline to file an appeal against his conviction because authorities have denied their repeated requests to meet with him.
Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng made a daring escape from house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in April, setting off a diplomatic tussle between China and the United States. He is now living in New York.
His nephew, Chen Kegui, was convicted two weeks ago of attacking officials who stormed his house looking for his uncle and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Lawyer Ding Xikui said Wednesday that requests to meet with Chen have been turned down repeatedly by the Yinan Detention Center in eastern Shandong province, where he is being held.
"Chen Kegui's family insists on appealing, but we must get the approval from Chen himself," Ding said. "Our requests to meet with Chen have been repeatedly turned down by the detention center authority and we are unable to meet him."
"Tomorrow is the last day the law permits us to file an appeal, but it looks that we won't make it by that time," Ding said. "We will keep contacting the court and the detention center even if the deadline has passed."
Chen Guangcheng previously said he was infuriated by the punishment of his nephew, who he says acted in self-defense after his house was raided by armed men in the middle of the night.
The Yinan Public Security Bureau did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.