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Chief Judge of Criminal Tribunal Obstructs Lawyer from Representing Falun Gong Client

October 11, 2012 |   By a Minghui correspondent from Sichuan Province, China

(Minghui.org) Mr. Zhou Yubao, a retired worker from Shifang City in Sichuan Province, was arrested in a park by officers from the local domestic security division in May 2012. The local 610 Office ordered officials from the local police department, Procuratorate and the courts to work together to convict Mr. Zhou. Furthermore, they were to do their best to obstruct his lawyer from submitting a plea of innocence.

Li Kaixuan, Chief Judge of the Criminal Tribunal of the Shifang City Court, tried several ways to stop Mr. Zhou's lawyer from being involved in the case. Some of the exchanges between Mr. Zhou's lawyer and the judge are presented below. It is interesting to note that the judge always faltered or lowered his head when he was asked to give clear answers. He was not willing to take responsibility or to get involved in helping the lawyer sign on to the case.

Judge Li Kaixuan first tried to stop the lawyer from getting involved in Mr. Zhou's case on September 24, 2012. Another judge, Judge Tang Xinhe, was originally placed in charge of the case against Mr. Zhou. Judge Li Kaixuan told Mr. Zhou's lawyer that he was stepping in because the original judge was away on business.

Mr. Zhou's lawyer went to the Shifang Court with Mr. Zhou's family members at 9 a.m. on September 25, 2012. Judge Li told them that the trial scheduled to take place on September 28 had been postponed. Mr. Zhou's lawyer then requested to sign on to the case, but Judge Li refused, claiming that Judge Tang had not returned from his business trip, and that all the case files were in the judge's possession. The lawyer asked when Judge Tang would return and Judge Li answered, “I am not sure.”

The lawyer then said: “The reason I came here was to get the formalities taken care of, not to meet with Judge Tang Xinhe. Are you using his absence to keep me from getting involved in the case?” Judge Li again lowered his head, did not say anything, and silently smoked. After a while he lifted his head and said, “This is the situation now.”

The lawyer asked, “May I submit the documents that I have and would you give me a receipt?” Li replied, “I can take all of the documentation, but I have never given a receipt to any lawyer.” The lawyer continued, “You are keeping me from getting involved in this case, is this correct?” Li again bowed his head and was silent, still smoking.

The lawyer continued, “You do not have the final say, do you?” Li repeated: “This is the situation right now.” The lawyer said again, “Am I understanding this right? You are keeping me from getting involved with this case, aren’t you?”

Judge Li, afraid to shoulder any responsibility, replied, “Can you wait?” The lawyer said: “How long do I have to wait? You have to give me an exact time.” The judge replied: “I will contact you around three o'clock this afternoon.”

Judge Li called the lawyer that afternoon regarding three things: The trial that was originally scheduled for September 28 had been cancelled; he asked for the exact location of the lawyer's office; and he asked the lawyer to return to the court to talk to him, but said that Mr. Zhou's family could not accompany him.

The lawyer rejected the request for the meeting. He asked Li to comply with an agreement that allowed him get involved with the case the following morning. Judge Li hung up the phone before the lawyer finished talking.

Reliable sources state that the following day, September 26, Judge Tang Xinhe was back at work. When Mr. Zhou's lawyer tried to contact him, Judge Li told him that Judge Tang had not yet returned and that furthermore, he was not allowed to defend Mr. Zhou in court.

Mr. Zhou's family and the lawyer then went to the Shifang Detention Center at 9 a.m. on September 26, demanding to see Mr. Zhou. They were told that they could only visit Mr. Zhou if Judge Tang was with them.

Judge Li claimed that he reported the case to his superior, and that it would be reported to a higher level. Li's superior is the president of the Shifang Court, who in turn reports to the Deyang City Intermediate Court. Mr. Zhou's case has not made it to the Deyang City Intermediate Court. What is the next higher authority? It appears that it must be the Shifang City 610 Office (which is in charge of persecuting Falun Gong) that is pulling the strings behind the scenes.