(Minghui.org) Officials from the Nong'an County Public Security System have been trying to prosecute seven Falun Gong practitioners from Nong'an County, in Jilin Province. The practitioners include Mr. Liu Wei, Ms. Zhang Guozheng, Mr. Yang Hongbiao, Mr. Xiu Jixue, Mr. Chang Baojun, Ms. Wang Yajuan, and Ms. Yang Wenjuan.

Officers from the Nong'an County Police Department arrested the practitioners on November 2-3, 2012. They are now being held at the Nong'an County Detention Center. Most have been severely tortured while being interrogated.

Lawyers Prevented from Defending their Clients

Many lawyers have stepped forward since May 2013 to defend these practitioners in court. However, officials from the Nong'an Detention Center, the county court, and the Procuratorate have been interfering with the lawyers and trying to stop them from defending their clients.

When Mr. Chang Baojun's lawyer went to the Procuratorate in May, asking to review his case, the officials turned him down, saying, “There has been a meeting recently and we were instructed by the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) that lawyers are not allowed to get involved with any case related to Falun Gong.”

Ms. Zhang Guozhen's lawyers tried to submit their paperwork to the court, and requested to review her file in August 2013. However, Judge Guo Qingxi, vice-president of the Nong'an County Court, rejected their paperwork and request.

Li Qingguo, director of the Nong'an County Detention Center, refused to let Mr. Liu Wei's lawyer meet with him on September 2, 2013. Li said coldly, “Visitation is allowed with anyone except for Falun Gong.” When the lawyer questioned the legal basis for this policy, Li replied, “We don't need to follow the law when dealing with Falun Gong.” Ma Chi, director of the 610 Office, was later asked to “get involved” and interfere with the visitation.

The lawyers tried to submit the paperwork again on September 2 to Judge Guo Qingxi, but he told them to instead submit the paperwork to the director of the 610 Office. Sun Yinsheng, president of the court, told the lawyers that they weren't able to accept paperwork from out-of-town lawyers, because they were following the policy of the PLAC. The lawyers stated, “The PLAC is not a part of the judicial system. There is no legal basis for a lawyer to submit the paperwork to the PLAC, and neither should the committee interfere with judicial independence.”

Ms. Zhang's lawyers tried for the third time to submit the paperwork to Judge Guo on September 3, but were unsuccessful. The lawyers said, “You are the presiding judge, so the paperwork should be submitted to you.” Judge Guo responded, “As the presiding judge, I am in no position to accept your paperwork. You should go to the PLAC.” The lawyers replied, “Officials of the court should obey the law. The PLAC should not interfere with judicial independence. We will not go to the committee, but you are welcome to do so if you need to.” Judge Guo said, “Have you ever witnessed judicial independence under the communist rule?”

When Ms. Zhang's family asked when the trial would be held, Judge Guo responded by saying, “Why did you hire lawyers from a different province? And two lawyers? You should ask the court officials to assign a lawyer to you.” When the lawyers questioned Judge Guo again as to why he refused to accept the paperwork, he said, “This is what we do in Jilin Province,” and shoved out the lawyers and the family.

During the entire process, several laws have been violated by officials from the Nong'an County PLAC and the Public Security System.