(Minghui.org) Ms. Han Xiufang, Ms. Gong Chengge, Ms. Liu Chunlan and Ms. Sun Fa from Huining County in Gansu Province were arrested by officers from the Huining Domestic Security Division on September 24, 2011. They were held in a detention center for 18 months before being sentenced to three years of imprisonment. Their family members have appealed to the Baiyin Medium Court.

Ms. Han Xiufang benefits from practicing Falun Gong

Ms. Han Xiufang, 51, used to suffer from many illnesses, but they soon disappeared after she started practicing Falun Gong in 1997. She holds herself to the standards of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance and always considers others first when she does things.

Ms. Han was employed by Wanliyuan Limited Co. in Huining and was considered to be a hard and diligent worker. However, in the six to seven years leading up to 2008, the company did not have enough money to pay its employees due to corruption. When the workers went to the county government offices to resolve the problem, they were asked to elect a new general manager. Since Ms. Han was well liked by many of the workers, she was elected to be in charge of the company.

Arrested and sentenced for letting people know the facts about Falun Gong

Pu Zhongxue from Zhongchuan Police Station and Li Yonggang from the Huining Domestic Security Division arrested Ms. Han, Ms. Gong, Ms. Liu and Ms. Sun when they were clarifying the facts to people in Zhongchuan Township on September 24, 2011. Their homes were ransacked, and their Falun Gong books, bank deposit books and other personal belongings were confiscated. Ms. Han was held at the detention center, where she was tortured so badly that she was emaciated and her hair turned gray.

After Ms. Han was arrested, her 90-year-old mother-in-law was so petrified that she became severely ill and ended up bed-ridden. She has nobody to take care of her, and is longing for her daughter-in-law's return every day. She can't eat or sleep well and is severely depressed. Police continue to harass her and have ransacked her home several times.

Ms. Han, Ms. Gong, Ms. Liu and Ms. Sun were put on trial at Huining County Court on February 28, 2012, and their family members hired a few lawyers from Beijing to defend them. The lawyers pointed out that it is not against the law to talk to people about Falun Gong and hand out truth-clarification materials. They then stated that the practitioners should be released unconditionally.

The lawyers also advised the judges and other staff at the court that if one keeps silent when facing persecution, one would be counted as an accomplice to the crime. Sentencing someone who is known to be innocent is a crime and is against one's conscience. The lawyers requested that each judge respect a citizen's constitutional rights and enforce the law fairly. The prosecutors and the judges had no response.

Lawyers and the practitioners' family members threatened

Kang Yingxiang from the Huining 610 Office put pressure on the judges and court staff. He claimed that officials from the provincial 610 Office were infuriated that Mr. Chen Zhongxuan, Ms. Han's husband, had already submitted an appeal to the legal department, and that they wanted heavier sentences be given to the practitioners. Kang said that if the practitioners were to be released, then they would try to sue them, so they should never be released. Mr. Chen has been forced to stay away from his home to avoid being arrested by the authorities since September 25, 2011.

Kang has complained to the Beijing Judicial Bureau a few times about the lawyers, and tried to stop them from defending the practitioners. Kang and others also tried to put pressure on the practitioners' family members, saying that the lawyers had upset the leaders from the provincial government. So if they continued to hire the lawyers as their defense, then the practitioners would receive even longer sentences. Kang also threatened Ms. Han's younger brother, saying that he would be dismissed from his workplace if he continued to hire lawyers.

Officials from Huining County Court secretly sentenced Ms. Han Xiufang, Ms. Gong Chengge, Ms. Liu Chunlan and Ms. Sun Fa to three years in prison without letting their family members and lawyers know.

The practitioners and their family members appealed to the middle court, and around March 10, 2013, their cases were transferred to Baiying City Middle Court.

Family members arrested

On June 28, 2012, Mr. Chen Zhongxuan's two sisters, Ms. Chen Shuxian and Ms. Chen Jie, were arrested by a group of people led by Chen Zhikai from the Lanzhou City Domestic Security Division. Ms. Chen Shuxian was detained for two months and was subjected to torture. Ms. Chen Jie was held at Lanzhou No.1 Detention Center, where she was also tortured. Lanzhou Chengguan District Court held a secret trial for Ms. Chen Jie and Mr. Wang Youjiang on November 23, 2012, without informing either the lawyer or their family members.