(Minghui.org) When the trial of Mr. Chen Deguang and Ms. Sheng Chunmei was held at the Honggu District Court in Lanzhou on April 20, 2013, the court notice stated that the trial would begin at 10:00 a.m. By the time Mr. Chen's family and their defense lawyer arrived 20 minutes before the trial was scheduled to begin, both the gate and the side door to the courthouse were locked.

Officers from the Domestic Security Division and police station arrived, and the side door was opened only for selected individuals, not including Mr. Chen's family.

A van full of officers entered the gate around 10:30 a.m. An ambulance arrived around 10:35 a.m. About ten minutes later Ms. Sheng stepped out of the ambulance and went to the courtroom upstairs with the support of someone else. Around 10:50 a.m. Mr. Chen arrived and entered the courtroom. Officers and agents from the Domestic Security Division, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the 610 Office, and police stations, who were all granted access, followed. Only then was the defense lawyer allowed to enter.

Six family members went to the trial. They included Ms. Sheng's sister and brother, and the couple's son, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. The family was not allowed admittance in advance, and they had to wait. However, the director of the Domestic Security Division, Li Ling, issued them three tickets that allowed them to enter. When the family asked for four tickets, Li said, “Do you want to get in or not?”

Three family members finally entered the courtroom and took some seats in the second row.

The trial began after the courtroom regulations were declared, an identification check was completed, and the charges read and evidence listed. Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng acknowledged that they practiced Falun Gong, but they did not admit any guilt or wrongdoing in doing so.

The following are the key points from their defense lawyer:

Inappropriate application of the law

It is baseless to charge Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng for violating Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which states: “organize and utilize sect or evil cult organizations, or utilize superstitious to undermine the enforcement of the law.”

1. China's Constitution, criminal law, and judicial interpretations from both the High Court and High Procuratorate do not expressly define sects or evil cult organizations. The evil cult organizational lists issued by the Central Office of the Chinese Communist Party, by the General Office of the State Council, and by the Ministry of Public Security have never included Falun Gong.

2. Falun Gong is not an organization. The organizational form of Falun Gong, the positions held by Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng, and the manner by which they organize and utilize the organization should all be stated and recognized by the court.

3. How did Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng, as labor workers, undermine the enforcement of the law?

4. Which law's enforcement did they undermine?

5. Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng were charged with “disturbing social order” for practicing Falun Gong, and they were subjected to forced labor. Why did the same behavior and same reason for arrest lead to different charges?

Officers Violated the Law

1. The arresting officers did not provide identification before conducting the arrest and search.

2. The officers used excessive force during the interrogation. Officer Zhang Guowei beat Mr. Chen during an interrogation 21 months ago, and the scars on Mr. Chen's body are still visible.

3. When Mr. Chen and Ms. Sheng were subjected to forced labor for the first time, no individual or organization notified them of their right to a hearing or an administrative review.

The Officers and agents who witnessed the trial stated that the defense lawyer answered all questions from the prosecutor promptly and openly, but the prosecutor answered none of the questions from the defense lawyer.

Even so, the prosecutor recommended 14-year sentences. The family said that they would appeal.

Related article: Family Protests Honggu District Court Attempts to Try Mr. Chen Deguang without His Attorney