By BosNewsLife Asia Service
Gao Zhisheng was mistreated while in prison, activists and Christians say.
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- One of China's most prominent Christian rights lawyers, Gao-Zhisheng, was with family Friday, August 8, after he was released from prison, his brother confirmed.
Gao Zhiyi said Gao left the Xinjiang prison early Thursday local time and was now at his father-in-law's home in Urumqi, ending years of imprisonment.
His supporters linked his detention to his work for house church Christians and defending Falun Gong sect followers, and other "persecuted" social groups. The Communist government also shut down his law firm and revoked his lawyer’s license.
Authorities say he was detained on charges of inciting to "subvert the state power.”
Prosecution began in August 2006, when Gao was "illegally detained" by police, Christians said. In December of 2006 he was sentenced to three years in prison with a probation period of five years.
During his probation he abducted six times by security forces and severely tortured in detention, according to rights activists.
In April 2010, Gao disappeared again while visiting his in-laws in Xinjiang province. In December 2011,
the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Gao had violated the terms of his probation and had been returned to prison for three years.
In July, Shaya Prison, where Gao was being held, informed the activist's brother that he would be
released on August 7.
Despite repeated requests for visits by his brother, Gao’s relatives were allowed to see him just twice in three years, in March 2012 and January 2013.
Gao’s wife, Geng He, has asylum in the United States where she lives with their two children.
It was not immediately clear what Goa would do next and whether he would be able to meet them soon.