DETAINED Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu has appointed prominent Shanghai lawyer, Duan Qihua, to defend him against charges of illegally obtaining commercial secrets and bribery.
The personal appointment comes as Hu’s three colleagues, who were are also accused of stealing state secrets and formally arrested last week, appointed their own lawyers from Shanghai’s top legal ranks, Reuters reports.
Lawyer Zeng Eng Chong said, in the Sydney Morning Herald, one of the tests facing the legal defence team will be to see if they will be allowed to publish their defence speeches.
Lawyer Tao Wuping is quoted in The Wall Street Journal saying his client Liu Caikui is expected to appear in court within three months to be tried in a single case along with his colleagues.
The lawyers have not been granted permission to see their clients in the Shanghai Detention Centre, although contact has been made with the Rio Tinto employees’ families.
The Shanghai’s Public Security Bureau or police took over the case from the State Security Bureau last week after the severity of the charges was reduced.
“It’s just a normal charge of economic crimes, completely different than the original charges about stealing state secrets,’ said Tao in The Wall Street Journal.