Officials Try to Prevent Lawyers from Defending Practitioners in Zhaoyuan City
(Clearwisdom.net) Practitioners Mr. Kao Fuquan, Ms. Song Guihua, Ms. Yang Lanxiang, Ms. Diao Yunxing, Ms. Fang Cuirong, Mr. Yang Wenjie and Ms. Teng Yingfeng, all from Zhaoyuan City, Shandong Province, were recently arrested. Officials from the judiciary and Zhaoyuan 610 Office tried to prevent their lawyers from defending them.
When the lawyers from Beijing first visited Zhaoyuan, agents from the 610 Office told officials from the village committee that the lawyers were reporters, and that they would make unfavorable remarks in the media about the committee. The 610 agents instructed the leaders of the committee to have two villagers stationed at the entrance to the village, and to assault the lawyers if they tried to enter the village. Two villagers were put on watch, but they soon left their posts when they found out that they had been deceived.
Officials from the Procuratorate first told the families of the arrested practitioners that it's useless for them to hire lawyers because the practitioners won't use them. When the lawyers were hired, family members and their lawyers asked to meet with the imprisoned practitioners. They were told that they had to contact the detention center where the practitioners were held. Then the officials at the detention center said that they had to have approval from the 610 Office. Agents from the 610 Office said the case had been sent to the Procuratorate and was out of their hands.
The family members and the lawyers went back to the Procuratorate a few days later. They were then told to contact the court officials, because the case had been transferred to the court. After more than an hour of negotiation with the officials at the court, the lawyers were finally allowed to meet with their clients.
A trial was scheduled for Monday, November 29, and the practitioners' families received notification of the trial date a week before the trial. When the lawyers met the judge, they were told the situation had changed, and that they could neither meet with their clients nor defend them in court. The judge showed them a hand-written note, claiming it was from one of the practitioners. It read, "I do not want a lawyer, and I do not want my family to hire a lawyer for me, either." The family members firmly denied that these were the real wishes of any of the practitioners and questioned the authenticity of the handwriting. The family members and their lawyers asked for a face-to-face meeting with the practitioners, but were denied.
The judge told them that the trial would be postponed for another two weeks because he would be on vacation.
Wang Jialin, chief procurator: 86-535-3012501, 86-13963808126 (Cell)
Wang Lichen, court president: 86-535-8248898, 86-13905452001 (Cell)
Sun Baodong, head of police department: 86-535-8030866, 86-13906389386
Liu Shuju, head of 610 Office: 86-535-8159038 (Office), 86-535-8210838 (Home), 86-13863808689
Wang Haitao, court judge: 86-15615086035 (Cell)
Liu (first name unknown), court judge: 86-535-8245342 (Office)
Liu Yongwen, chief judge: 86-15615086036 (Cell)