Released Chinese human rights attorney was starved, isolated in prison, wife says

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The wife of Chinese human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng says her husband was kept in isolation for 2 1/2 years and starved before his release from prison a week ago.

Geng He said by telephone Saturday that the fiery attorney lost about 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) while in prison. Gao was convicted in 2006 of subversion and released several times only to be disappeared again by security agents.

Geng and Gao's attorney Jarod Genser are asking that he be allowed to leave China and join his wife and two children in California.

The 50-year-old lawyer won international renown for taking on highly sensitive cases such as defending members of the spiritual practice Falun Gong and fighting for the land rights of farmers.