06:36 GMT25 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Chinese-born Australian writer and pro-democracy political commentator Yang Hengjun has been formally charged with espionage in China after nearly two years of detention, ABC reported.

    The man’s lawyer, Shang Baojun, told the broadcaster that Yang had been charged on Wednesday. The lawyer declined to provide further detail, saying that he was "strictly prohibited from being interviewed by the foreign media".

    Yang’s wife, in turn, told ABC that her husband "denies everything," viewing it as political persecution, and complains about "mental maltreatment" following "six-month-long residence under surveillance."

    "He was officially indicted to the court and in accordance with the advice on indictment, the authority listed five crimes, however, due to confidentiality agreement, the lawyer can't reveal any details", Yang's wife explained.

    Yang was detained in January 2019, when he arrived in China due to visa issues. The 55-year-old, who is said to be a former Chinese Foreign Ministry employee, has Australian citizenship. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already said that Australia is pushing for a transparent, fair and just process in Yang's case.

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