Defense Lawyer Calls for Ms. Song Fangming's Immediate Release After Trial by Changsha Court (Photo)
Name: Song Fangming (宋放鸣)
Address: Sanwang Street, Tianxin District, Changsha City
Occupation: Retired worker of a vegetable company in Changsha City
Date of Most Recent Arrest: September 28, 2009
Most recent place of detention: Changsha City No. 1 Detention Center (长沙市一看守所)
Persecution Suffered: Forced labor, home ransacked, interrogation, detention
(Clearwisdom.net) The District Court of Tianxin in Changsha City tried Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Song Fangming on March 5, 2010. She pleaded "not guilty" through her defense lawyer, pointing to the fact that law enforcement officials from the National Security Brigade and Pozi Street Police Station ignored the law when they charged Ms. Song. The lawyer also pointed out that practicing Falun Gong was not a violation of any law and Ms. Song should be released immediately.
People who heard about the trial came to the court early on the morning of March 5, despite the rain. Ms. Song's family had hired a human rights lawyer. Her friends and relatives also came to the trial. The trial was to be held in Courtroom 3, but because it was was too small to hold the large crowd, Courtroom 2 -- which could accommodate about 70 to 80 people -- was used. Even after switching to a larger courtroom, there were not enough seats. The trial began at 9:45 a.m.
The facts of the case were as follows. On September 28, 2009, the National Security Brigade from the Public Security Bureau of Tianxin District, along with officers from the Pozi Police Station and a group of community workers broke into Ms. Song's mother's (Zou Guihua) home. After ransacking the house, they confiscated all their personal belongings, which amounted to about two truckloads of goods. They forcibly took away Ms. Song, her elderly mother, who is blind, and her care giver. Her care giver was taken home by her family on the same day. Ms. Song's mother was held in a detention center for 15 days before she was released. Ms. Song was sent to the First Detention Center in Changsha City. Even though Ms. Song's family had repeatedly tried to negotiate with the Pozi Police Station, the police still trumped up charges against her. Desperate and helpless, her family hired a human rights lawyer to defend her.
During the trial, when the prosecutor accused Ms. Song of producing Falun Gong truth-clarification materials, the lawyer requested her to present the evidence to the court. She said that the evidence had been destroyed. The lawyer argued that destruction of evidence is a crime involving abuse of power. He said that this case was filed on October 11, 2009, but the investigation activities relating to the case had already commenced on September 28, 2009. The question is: If the case was not filed, how could there be any investigation activity for the case? This is to say that the so-called evidence came from an illegal source because the investigation took place before the case was filed. According to the law, illegal evidence cannot be established as legal grounds.
When Ms. Song pointed out that the content of the statement was not her words, and was tampered with by other people, prosecutor Feng Ping took out a copy of that statement which had her signature, and started reading it aloud. Ms. Song immediately asked, "You were just asking me two questions about my family. That's why I signed my name on that paper. I have no idea why the content was altered. I would never say anything like what you just read!" The prosecutor had nothing to say. The people in the courtroom were stunned, as they suspected that the prosecutor had fabricated the evidence.
After several rounds of pleadings, all so-called evidence from the prosecutor's side was shown to be invalid by the defense lawyer. Being unable to make any justifications, the prosecutor started making personal remarks about the lawyer. The jurors intervened, "Does the prosecutor have any new findings?" There was no answer. The judge and jurors had realized that there were no further findings.
Ms. Song stated that she previously had many illnesses, and her doctor had told her family that her days on the earth were numbered. She would have died long ago had she not taken up the practice of Falun Gong. She asked, "Why is it wrong to believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance? If a person doesn't acknowledge these principles, isn't their life in great danger?"
The lawyer pleaded solemnly, "The Constitution stipulates that all citizens have freedom of belief. In order to keep fit and healthy, Ms. Song took up practicing Falun Gong for self-improvement. She didn't break any law. The Court accused her of 'Using a cult organization to undermine the implementation of the law.' My questions are: What kind of organization did she use? Which law did she undermine? Of the 14 cult organizations set by both Houses, Falun Gong is not listed there." When he requested that the prosecutor cite such law for him if there was one, her naive reply, "Everybody knows it," created laughter in the audience.
As the case proceeded and more evidence was disclosed, it became clear to the judge, jurors, prosecutor, spectators, and all other law-enforcement officials that all allegations made against Falun Gong practitioners had no legal basis. Then isn't it legal for any person to possess, reproduce, or disseminate Falun Gong-related books or materials? Looking back at the trial process and how the procurator had behaved herself, isn't this a grand exposure of the criminal acts of the National Security Brigade and the Pozi Police Station?
At about 11:30 a.m., the defense lawyer pleaded that since Ms. Song was not found guilty of any violations, she should be released immediately. The presiding judge, Huang Jueping, hastily called for a court adjournment. The trial thus came to an abrupt end without Ms. Song being released. Ms. Song's friends and relatives and all other crowds were greatly disappointed: Since the lawyer had already proven her innocence, why wasn't she released and allowed to go home? If evidence, facts, and legal basis are not sufficient to settle a lawsuit, then what else is needed?
March 9, 2010