Practitioners Wang Lixin and Li Xiurong Illegally Sentenced in Jiamusi Court
(Clearwisdom.net) Ms. Wang Lixin and Ms. Li Xiurong, practitioners from Jiamusi City, were illegally sentenced by officials from Jiaoqu Court in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province, on November 14, 2010. Ms. Wang was sentenced to three and a half years, while Ms. Li was sentenced to three years. Both of them refused to sign the sentencing documents, and said that they would appeal.
Ms. Wang and Ms. Li were arrested on July 19, 2010, and sent to the Jiamusi Detention Center because they sent Falun Gong materials to their acquaintances. Officials at the Jiaoqu Procuratorate approved the arrest of the practitioners after the fact at the end of August, and a court hearing was opened in Jiaoqu Court on October 18.
During the hearing, the two practitioners and their lawyer pointed out that the evidence the court had provided was false. Ms. Wang and Ms. Li told the court of how they had benefited from Falun Gong and that their health had improved since they started the practice, and explained why they had not given up the practice under such intense pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). They insisted that they are innocent, and that believing in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is not illegal.
Their lawyer argued from the aspect of freedom of religious belief, asserting that religion and politics were two separate issues. They also pointed out that Falun Gong is not among the list of 14 cults as stated by the CCP. The lawyers' statement left the judge and jury speechless. They didn't come to a conclusion that day; instead, judge Li Caihong called for further negotiations.
Family members of the practitioners went to see judge Li Caihong several times after the hearing, hoping she would make a fair decision. Judge Li promised that she would do her best, and told the families that she wasn't afraid of pressure from higher authorities.
After learning that Ms. Wang and Ms. Li had already been sentenced, some of their family members went to the county court to see Judge Li on the evening of November 14, 2010. They asked on what basis the practitioners had been sentenced, and also wanted to know why they weren't informed of the announcement. Judge Li told them that the decision came from a higher authority, and then tried to change the subject. Family members asked her again, on what basis the practitioners were sentenced. They also said that according to the law, Falun Gong is not against the law, yet the practitioners were still sentenced to three years. Judge Li told them that a sentence for Falun Gong practitioners was at least three years. The family members became frustrated and said that they wanted to appeal. Judge Li told them that they had already missed half of the time in which they were able to appeal, which was ten days. This was because the families had not been informed when the sentences were handed out.
The practitioners' family members went to the court and the detention center on November 16 and 17, to let Ms. Wang and Ms. Li sign the appeal documents, but they were refused entry on both occasions, because they did not have permission to see the practitioners.
When Judge Li sentenced Ms. Wang and Ms. Li, the court didn't notify the families, nor did they give the families the sentencing documents.