(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhang Liyu from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province was illegally arrested by police from the Baiyun Village Police Station on April 5, 2010 while clarifying the facts about Falun Gong to people. She is currently detained in the Yongtai County Detention Center, and is about to be put on trial.

The court in Yongtain County has used various tactics to stop her family members from hiring a defense counsel from Beijing.

At around 3:00 p.m. on July 12, a family member of Ms. Zhang called the Yongtai County Court to make an inquiry about her. Judge Yan Xingnuan from the court asked, "Where is your defense counsel from?" When told that the lawyer was from Beijing, he said, "We have a regulation here that no one is allowed to hire lawyers from elsewhere; you can only hire a local lawyer."

Ms. Zhang's family member asked why, and pointed out that there was no such regulation mentioned in the "Notice of Litigation Rights and Obligations" issued by the Yongtai County Procuratorate.

Yan requested the family member to change the lawyer, and when the request was rejected, he told him to come to the court for a face-to-face talk.

The next day, July 13, Ms. Zhang's family member met with Yan in Yongtai County Court, and asked him to show him the regulation. Yan could not show anything to this effect. Seeing that he could not achieve his goal, Yan changed his tone and said, "We would like to discuss this with you further. You'd better hire a local lawyer, or we can assign a lawyer, free of charge. If you cooperate with us, we will take this into consideration when passing the sentence."

The family member rejected his proposal, saying that Ms. Zhang was innocent in the first place. He told Yan that he had already told the lawyer in Beijing about Ms. Zhang's situation, and that the lawyer would be sending documents to the court. Yan said that he would order the mail be returned to Beijing.

Because he failed to persuade Ms. Zhang's family member to change his mind, Yan Xingnuan asked for help from his superior, who refused to reveal his name. This superior said to the family member, "We shall give you one week to think about changing the lawyer. If you do not change the lawyer, we will postpone the hearing, originally scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on July 20." On July 14, the family member telephoned Yan and again refused their unlawful request.

Contact information:

Chief Judge of Forestry Section of Yongtai County Court: 86-591-24858270