A Just Defense Moved the Court, But a Practitioner Is Still Illegally Sentenced (Photos)
Name: Li Changli (李长利)
Date of Most Recent Arrest: End of 2008
Most recent place of detention: Longquanyi District Public Security Bureau in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province (四川省成都市龙泉驿区公安局)
Persecution Suffered: Imprisonment, Torture, Illegal Sentence
Defense Attorney: Mr. Du Peng (杜鹏)
(Clearwisdom.net) Longquanyi District Court illegally tried Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Li Changli on October 13, 2009. Mr. Li's defense attorney, Mr. Du Peng, from Luotai Attorneys' Office in Luoyang City, Henan Province, provided a sound defense for his client's innocence. However, without any legal basis, the court still sentenced Mr. Li Changli to eight years of forced labor, following an internally pre-set term. President Yang Dejun of the Longquanyi District Court was the main judge.
Defending the Innocent
The defense attorney pointed out that it was without legal merit for the public prosecutor to use Article 300 of the Criminal Law to indict Falun Gong practitioners. Their "accusation" was groundless. He asked the public prosecutor to provide a legal basis for declaring Falun Gong, which follows the principles of Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance, a "cult." The public prosecutor was never able to show any such legal grounds.
After defending his client citing the universal values of freedom of religion and the fact that Falun Gong practitioners had not committed any crimes against the society, Attorney Du Peng further praised Falun Gong's tremendous value in improving people's moral standards. He asked the court, "If Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance is bad, does that mean Lies-Evil-Violence is good?"
In his final statement to the jury, Mr. Li Changli stated that his actions had caused no harm to society. He asked the judge, "What have I done wrong?" The judge could not answer but said, "If you have questions, don't address the court."
Public Angered at the Illegal Sentence
When the Chief Judge announced eight years' imprisonment for Mr. Li Changli, the all the spectators were in shock. Mr. Li's 73-year-old father, who has heart disease, pounded the defense table and said that the court was a "mafia." He was so angry that he almost threw a cup at the judge. Mr. Li's relatives also went to the judge and jurors, asking them why they had sentenced Mr. Li despite the fact that the accusations had no legal basis. An old man shouted, "Truthfulness-Benevolence-Forbearance is good!" and cursed Jiang Zemin.
The public prosecutor and the jurors didn't dare to address their questions. With an escort of court police officers, they all lowered their heads and left the room.
The Trial Violated the Law and Displayed the True Nature of the Persecution against Falun Gong
During the trial, Mr. Li Changli was forced to wear a prison uniform, was handcuffed with his hands behind his back, and was chained to the gate behind him. According to legal procedures, before the court passes sentence, all defendants are considered innocent and their human dignity should be respected. Restraints should only be put on those with violent intentions. Handcuffing Mr. Li, a mild and kind individual, was a malicious insult.
Not only that, after announcing the sentence, the Chief Judge let the court police take Mr. Li Changli out of the room without asking him whether he wanted to appeal. This partially stripped Mr. Li Changli of his right to appeal. It was illegal to do this.
A Once-Happy Family Broken
Mr. Li Changli's home was ransacked by the police around midnight on April 29, 2008. Mr. Li and his wife, Li Lifen, were forced to go into hiding, leaving their five-year-old daughter, Li Weihong, with her grandparents.
At the end of 2008, Mr. Li and his wife were arrested in Chongqing City. They were sentenced for a year and half in forced labor camps. Mr. Li was imprisoned by the Seventh Division of the Xishanping Forced Labor Camp in the Beibei District, Chongqing City. Ms. Liu was imprisoned by the Fourth Division of the Shimaping Women's Forced Labor Camp in the Beibei District.
On February 25, 2009, Mr. Li was taken back to the Longquanyi District by the police from the Longquanyi District Public Security Bureau and then illegally sentenced for another eight years .
Mr. Li Changli's mother, 68, and father, 73, whose hands become numb when he gets excited, endure great pressure and suffer mentally. They have no income. Not only do they need to take care of their granddaughter and themselves, but they also need to frequently take money to Mr. Li and Ms. Liu in the forced labor camps .
Nevertheless, according to a Clearwisdom report, in order to obtain "evidence" to persecute Mr. Li Changli and his wife, Zeng Yi and other policemen from the Longquanyi District Public Security Bureau went to Mr. Li's home at 10 a.m. on January 13, 2009. Without the presence of any adults in the family, they interrogated Li Weihong, who was five and half years old at the time. After the interrogation, they took Li Weihong's fingerprints as "evidence." Mr. Li Changli's parents went to the Public Security Bureau and kindergarten to ask for an explanation. Despite violating the law on protecting women and children's rights and greatly distressing a small child, the police never made any statements in response. Little Weihong has been separated from her parents for a year. She is now in first grade. She wrote a letter to her parents: "Dad, Mom: I am at the first grade now. I miss you. Please come home soon!"
Weihong's Letter to Her Parents
Since July 20, 1999, countless Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested and imprisoned. Many attorneys and researchers point out that the suppression of Falun Gong has no legal basis. The arrest, imprisonment, and sentencing of Falun Gong practitioners are all criminal acts that violate the law.
Original Article: October 21, 2009