(Minghui.org) Six Falun Gong practitioners were tried on the morning of December 11, 2014 by Xi'an District Court in Jilin Province. One of the defense lawyers, Mr. Zhang Keke, was arrested during the hearing.

The branch deputy director of Xi'an District Public Security Bureau, Jin Zhenyu, arrested attorney Zhang while he was representing one of the practitioners, Ms. Zhang Guixia (张桂霞).

The other five practitioners were Mr. Tian Yifu (田宜富), Ms. Tian Yifeng (田宜凤), Mr. Zhang Yangang (张彦刚), Ms. Chen Xiulan (陈秀兰) and Mr. Liu Qinghua (刘庆华).

The presiding judge offered to reduce the practitioners' sentences in exchange for guilty pleas.

Mr. Zhang Keke and another lawyer Mr. Shi Yongsheng, representing Mr. Tian, pleaded not guilty on their clients' behalf.

Attorney Zhang stated that Falun Gong is a form of “religious belief” and that he was then arrested by Jin for “saying the wrong thing” in court.

Authorities Block Defense for Falun Gong Practitioners

Before the hearing, Ms. Tian Huijuan, daughter of Mr. Tian and Ms. Zhang, requested permission from the court to be the second defender for her mother and presented authorization from the lawyer. Although she met the requirements to be a defender, court officials denied her request, citing that it was not submitted to the director of the 610 Office prior to the hearing.

Ms. Tian admonished the court officials to follow the law rather than a person. One of them responded, “Your case [Falun Gong] is unique.”

Attorney Shi was also obstructed from representing his client, and the police threatened to revoke his license. After the hearing ended, Shi was prevented from leaving the courtroom for a long time and was allowed to leave only after Ms. Tian came looking for him.

Ms. Tian and her family members then went to the Xi'an District Public Security Bureau to ask about attorney Zhang. Jin told them that he was sent to the Public Security Bureau in the city district. They were not given an answer as to when he would be released.

The family members waited all day before the police allowed Zhang to leave that evening. The police threatened to revoke Zhang's license if he represented Falun Gong practitioners again.

Family Members Harassed During Trial

At the hearing, the six practitioners appeared emaciated and weak, most likely due to harsh conditions and abuse in the detention center. The mother of Mr. Zhang Yangang, though nearly blind, made it to the hearing with the help of her children. She talked to people around her about her son's innocence and how good he was to her and their family.

During the hearing, plainclothes officers took photos of the family members and interrogated them.

Perpetrators' Contact Information:Liaoyuan City Taian Public Security Bureau (Branch):Wu Tao (吴涛), director: +86-151-04378023; Jin Zhenyu (金振宇), deputy director: +86-135-04379000

Liaoyuan Municipal Committee:Liu Wei (刘伟), secretary and director of Public Security Bureau: +86-189-04478001 (cell), +86-437-3315187 (office), +86-437-3320599 (home)Pi Fuguo (皮富国), head of 610 office: +86-133-51560686, +86-437-3317610