On Friday 28 June, Human Rights Group Hands Off Cain presented their 2002 report on "The Death Penalty Situation Worldwide" in the seat of Via Torre Argentina, Rome. Sergio d'Elia, Hands Off Cain's secretary, spoke with the 2002 report's editor Elisabetta Zamparutti, Radical Party Leader and author of the report's preface Marco Pannella, Foreign Office secretary Mario Baccini, columnist Idris Sanneh and Falun Gong practitioner Mrs. Jane Zhizhen Dai.
Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang briefly explained the repressive situation in China and thanked Hands Off Cain "for inviting us to this press conference, giving an opportunity to millions of Chinese people to freely reveal the truth here in Italy. While in every democracy there is freedom of information, in China the voices of tens of millions of practitioners have been banned from the government-controlled media". D'Elia said "fighting against the death sentence is fighting for democracy". In this respect 98% of the 4,700 executions of 2001 happened in totalitarian and dictatorial countries. For Hands Off Cain the final solution to this problem resides in those countries themselves and for the death sentence it is a matter of democracy, human rights and first of all religious freedom.
|Erping Zhang's speech|
At the press conference there was also Idris Sanneh, the popular columnist and sports journalist, previous regular guest of the TV show "Quelli che il Calcio". Idris said that he has always been a supporter of Hands Off Cain and its campaign against the death sentence: It is our duty to be present as testimonial against all the injustices such as the one against Falun Gong in China.
|Speech of the columnist Idris Sanneh||Elisabetta Zamparutti's speech|
Janes sister-in-law identified Chens body and she found it in a state of decomposition, meaning that the police waited before informing the family of the death. Therefore, nobody knows the exact date of his death. Following this, the sister-in-law was sentenced to 2 years in a forced labour camp without trial. When Janes father-in-law came to know about the death of his son and the sentence against his daughter, he was so shocked that he had to be rushed to hospital and he died a little later.
|Jane Zhizhen Dai interviewed by the French journalist Nicole Martiche from Agence France Press (AFP)|
The Australian government helped Mrs. Zhizhen retrieve her Husbands ashes from the Chinese authorities. My husband died just because he was a Falun Gong practitioner, says Jane, her thin body and trembling voice portraying the persecution she has had to suffer.
|...and also many people from different embassies|
|Different television teams are present (here RAI 1 e TG5)||Two journalists from Chinese press agency XINHUA are here too|