Former Judge Put on Trial for Practicing Falun Gong
Name: Li Mei (黎梅)
Date of Most Recent Arrest: June 12, 2008
Most recent place of detention: Second Detention Center in Hefei City (合肥市第二看守所)
Persecution Suffered: Imprisonment, forced labor, brainwashing
(Clearwisdom.net) (By a correspondent from Anhui Province) On December 8, 2009, Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Li Mei was put on trial by the Yaohai District Court in Hefei City. The proceedings were marked by absurd irregularities.
Ms. Li was represented by a lawyer. The court decided that the case was in need of further investigations, and a new hearing was set for next month.
Ms. Li was a judge from the mid-level court of Hefei City, Anhui Province. She was recognized as an honest and fair judge by her colleagues and court attendants, because she always measured herself by the Falun Gong principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in her work. In 2001, because of her belief in Falun Gong, she was illegally arrested while at home by officers from the Shushan Police Station and was sentenced to two years of forced labor in the Women's Forced Labor Camp of Anhui Province.
In March 2001 she was sent to a brainwashing center and was not released until November 2007. On June 12, 2008, agents from the 610 Office of Hefei City, the Committee of Politics and Law, and the city police department broke into her home and arrested her once again. They fabricated false charges against her and sentenced her to one year of forced labor in the farming lands of Nanhu Forced Labor Camp of Anhui Province. They have now plotted to sentence her to imprisonment through the courts.
During the hearing, Ms. Li's lawyer, Cheng Hai, entered a "not guilty" plea for Ms. Li based on facts and Chinese law. He enumerated the violations of law committed by the court: They failed to inform the defendant before the court date, they violated the law when searching for "evidence" as they ransacked the defendant's home before her case was officially filed, they prevented the lawyer from reading the charges filed by the prosecutor, and the defendant did nothing illegal and is apparently a victim of political pressure imposed on the court.
The lawyer requested that the court provide him the case documents, but they said they did not have them. He was astonished by such irregularity. How could the court put a person to trial without even filing a case? To the best of our knowledge, the earlier case filed on August 7, 2006, was based on false charges and was aborted without prosecution. It is against the law to charge Ms. Li after holding her in a brainwashing center until November 2007 and sentencing her to one year of forced labor in 2008.
The lawyer emphasized the legal principle that no one should be found guilty if his deeds are not explicitly listed in the law as criminal. There is no law in China stating that it is illegal to practice Falun Gong, but the suppression of Falun Gong is widespread according to informal governmental orders and confidential files. It is apparently against China's criminal law.
At the hearing the court did not allow the witness for the defense to testify, although it had been agreed beforehand that the witness would appear in court. When the lawyer insisted on their appearance, the court denied his request. Having no other choice, the lawyer read the testimony of the witness himself. The chief judge, Mr. Yang Lianwen, interrupted the defense argument and the defendant several times and refused to listen to the defendant. When this happened, the lawyer reminded the court of its responsibility to maintain the dignity of law, uphold justice, and discern the truth in all the cases they handle.
During the hearing, the lawyer pointed out that even thought the court is part of China's judiciary system, the court is worshiping political power rather than the law, and following political orders from the government rather than the doctrines set by law. He said that according to China's laws, all Chinese people are citizens, but they have no idea about their rights as Chinese citizens. He pointed out that the authorities violated the law when they sent Ms. Li to brainwashing centers twice and when they sentenced her to forced labor.
The judges were dumbfounded by the lawyer's presentation. The entire court session lasted for over three hours. After the session ended, the lawyer said once again that his witness should appear at the next session, but the court gave him no answer, claiming they did not have time to discuss this issue because they were about to attend a meeting.
The proceedings were directed by Chief Judge Yang Lianwen, an assistant judge, and two female prosecutors whose names were unknown to us. About thirty spectators attended the trial. Among them were officers from the 610 Office, police department, and the court. Only five of Ms. Li's family members were allowed to be present for the trial. All other attendees were officers of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and plainclothes CCP agents from the National Security Department. Officers from the 610 Office and the Politics and Law Department of all districts and counties of Hefei City and officers from the Police Department monitored, harassed, and evicted people who were concerned about Ms. Liu. They also secretly took pictures of them, while hiding in a car.
According to the latest information, the defense lawyer, Mr. Cheng Hai, has issued a complaint against one of the assistant judges, Wu Mingxia, for her violations of the law in handling Ms. Li's case.
Written on December 10, 2009