(Minghui.org) A Falun Gong practitioner couple, Mr. Chen Deguang, 67, and Ms. Sheng Chunmei, were recently sentenced to nine years in prison. Paperwork delivered to them on August 9, 2013, notified them of the sentence. The couple said they would appeal to a higher court. Ms. Sheng has now become almost blind and her diabetes has worsened.

The couple was tried on April 20, 2013, but no verdict was announced. On June 13, the lawyer called the judge, Zhang Xuelin, who said the decision had already been made, but the Political and Legal Affairs Committee was reviewing it.

Chen Deguang, a former employee of the North West Branch of the Fourth Smelter Company (which went bankrupt), now lives on Haishiwan Datong Road in the Honggu District. Before he began practicing Falun Gong, he suffered from many health problems, including lumber muscle strain, cervical vertebral disease, and gastroptosis. He also smoked two and a half packs of cigarettes, and drank, every day. After starting to practice Dafa in 1997, all his health problems disappeared and he quit smoking and drinking.

The couple was distributing Shen Yun DVDs in Huazhang Town in the Honggu District, Lanzhou City on July 6, 2011, when they were arrested by officers from Huazhuang Police Station. That night, officer Zhang Guowei beat Mr. Chen for almost an hour. Mr. Chen was held in Honggu District Detention Center. His wife, who was in poor condition, was released on bail awaiting trial.

Lanzhou City Court planned to try the couple in June 2012. However, after the lawyer arrived in the city and prepared for their defense, the court suddenly called Mr. Chen’s family to postpone the trial, but refused to say when the new trial would be.

They were brought to trial in Honggu District Court on April 20, 2013. However, because the court did not notify the lawyer in a timely manner as required by law, he could not get to the Honggu District in time from out of town. The Honggu District 610 Office tried to force the court to start the proceedings. Mr. Chen’s family was strongly against it. The 610 Office then tried to coerce Mr. Chen into changing lawyers. So the Honggu District Court announced the trial would be delayed again.

The trial convened in May 2013. The lawyer put forth a well-reasoned defense, and the prosecutor could not answer a single question posed by the lawyer. Even the legislative staff auditing the trial commented afterwards, “The prosecutor performed badly. The lawyer answered all his questions, but the prosecutor could not answer any of the lawyer's questions!”

The verdict was announced on August 9. Mr. Chen Deguang and his wife were each sentenced to nine years in prison. The couple did not accept the verdict and decided to appeal to a higher court. When the lawyer met Ms. Sheng Xuemei, he found her almost blind and with aggravated diabetes.

Related articles:
Mr. Chen Deguang and Ms. Sheng Chunmei and Their Daughter and Son Repeatedly Harassed, Arrested, and Sentenced Since 1999
Mr. Chen Deguan from Lanzhou Detained for Over a Year; His Wife Arrested Again Family Protests Honggu District Court Attempts to Try Mr. Chen Deguang without His Attorney
Lanzhou Trial: Prosecutor Unable To Answer Any Questions from Defense Lawyer
Judge Says Political and Legal Affairs Committee Dictates Trial Results after Elderly Practitioner Held for Two Years