Court Conducts Rushed Trial of Eleven Practitioners Without Informing Their Attorneys
(Minghui.org) Eleven Falun Gong practitioners were taken to a court in four police cars on the morning of October 29, 2013, where they were forced to undergo trial for the fifth time. They had been arrested in July 2012 for installing of a certain type of satellite dish in Zhongshan, Dalian City. This satellite dish carries the programs of US-based NTDTV, which broadcasts news that is uncensored by the communist regime.
The court session started at 9:00 a.m. and was adjourned 25 minutes later. Practitioners on trial were: Che Zhongshan, Zhu Chengqian, Wang Shouchen, Pan Xiuqing, Pei Zhenbo, Shi Zhanshun, Yu Bo, Guo Song, Bai Ruyu, and Li Shengjie.
In this so-called trial, no attorneys were allowed to be present, and no defenders from their families either. Only the judge and the prosecutor were there. They repeatedly urged the practitioners to dismiss their attorneys, and told them that they would deprive them of their rights to hire an attorney should they refuse to fire them. Seven practitioners who had hired attorneys argued for the right to have their attorneys present in the court room.
The practitioners stated that their belief in Falun Gong is by no means a crime. There was nothing wrong with installing satellite dishes and many people do this to make a living. Some practitioners refused to answer any question the judge or the prosecutor asked them, because no attorney or family member was present to defend them. A practitioner told the judge that they had insufficient evidence that any crime had been committed. No law states that the installation of NTDTV satellite dishes is prohibited, nor does any law stipulate that Falun Gong is a cult.
Another session started at 10:00 a.m. In which they tried Mr. Qu Bin, and it ended in ten minutes. Mr. Qu, who was wheel-chair bound due to torture while imprisoned, was then taken back to the detention center. Serving as his defender, his wife stated that there was nothing illegal in his actions to install satellites dishes, which he did to make a living, nor should he be jailed for his spiritual beliefs.
Court officials were on full alert before the trial, and uniformed and plainclothes officers were everywhere. They secretly took pictures and videos of the people in the surrounding areas. They also harassed practitioner Mr. Guo Song’s family, and had plainclothes officers monitor them constantly.
The day before the the trial, court officials notified the families that they could attend the trial, but the attorneys and the family defenders were given no notification. Afterward, the attorneys jointly signed a petition letter and mailed it to the court, and the families individually hand-delivered their protest statements to the court requesting the court to nullify the trial due to failure to follow due process.
Mass Arrest in 2012
On July 6, 2012, officials of the Dalian City 610 Office, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the Police Department, the Domestic Security Division, and the National Security Division worked with the local police departments, police stations, and neighborhood associations and conducted a large-scale arrest of practitioners. They focused on practitioners who had installed satellite receivers for people. (The CCP fears that people will watch NTDTV).
Close to one hundred practitioners were arrested, detained, tortured, and their homes were ransacked. Among them 69-year-old Ms. Zhang Guilian was tortured in the Dalian Detention Center until she died on August 5. Practitioners Qu Bin and Zhang Guoli were tortured to the point that their lives were in danger. Ms. Hou Chenli had her legs broken and her kidneys were injured while she was in the detention center. Mr. Che Zhongshan was tortured in the Dalian Detention Center. He was cuffed and shackled to the ground for two months and sometimes tied to the tiger bench overnight. Consequently, he had to be taken to the hospital for emergency treatment three times.
Multiple Attempts to Illegally Sentence Practitioners
Officials of the Zhongshan Court originally announced that the trial of 13 practitioners, who remained imprisoned after the mass arrest, was to be held at 9:30 a.m. on April 12, 2013, but suddenly notified attorneys on April 11 that the trial was canceled. On the morning of April 12, many police officers were stationed outside the court and arrested practitioners and family members who came to attend the trial. Two attorneys were also arrested at that time and 60-year-old attorney Chen Hai was beaten by the police. This incident was widely reported by overseas media.
On the morning of June 21, 2013 officials of the Zhongshan Court borrowed the Xigang Court facility in order to try these 13 practitioners. Nine attorneys pleaded not guilty for these practitioners, and two practitioners were released. The case was groundless in the first place and it did not follow any due process. In addition, all evidence was fabricated. The judge and the prosecutor were silenced by the powerful arguments of the attorneys as well as the statements of the practitioners, who pointed out the illegalities of the actions of the police and prosecutor. They were forced to call a recess frequently and the attorneys protested against the lengthy and frequent delays. At 8:30 p.m., the judge called an adjournment and announced that the case would be tried another time.
On August 2, 2013 officials of the Zhongshan Court borrowed the facility of Xigang Court again and had a trial there. Attorney Chen Hai was taken out of the courtroom and beaten the second time by police officers. The other attorneys protested and left the court room together.