361 Lawyers Condemn Arrest of Fellow Attorney for Defending Falun Gong Practitioner
(Minghui.org) In a statement signed by 361 lawyers in China, the attorneys condemned the police for the arrest of a fellow lawyer on December 11, 2014. Their colleague was arrested for defending a Falun Gong practitioner in court.
The trial took place in the Xi'an District Court in Liaoyuan, Jilin Province. The six Falun Gong practitioners tried were charged with pasting stickers exposing the persecution of Falun Gong.
While defending his client, lawyer Zhang Keke (张科科) refused to heed the presiding judge's warning that he not defend his client's innocence. Instead, he made it clear that it was his client's constitutional right to believe in and spread information about Falun Gong.
Because of Zhang Keke's strong defense, juror Chen Liming (陈立明) verbally abused him; presiding judge Zhou Fengwu (周凤武) adjourned the trial; six police officers body-searched Mr. Zhang and arrested him.
“How dare you put in a not-guilty plea [for a Falun Gong practitioner]!” Jin Zhenyu (金振宇), deputy director of the Tai'an Domestic Security Division questioned the lawyer.
News that lawyer Zhang was arrested during a trial went viral. Several lawyers and activists immediately sent text messages to deputy director Jin, condemning him for the blatant violation of law inside the courtroom. They also demanded the police to release Mr. Zhang immediately.
Lawyer Tang Jitian said, “What's wrong with a lawyer defending his client based on the law? I'm so disappointed to see the court become the stage for such shameful acts. How can you still claim yourself as a law-enforcement agency?”
“It's a shame to see such thing happen,” lawyer Zhang Lei commented.
The online statement initiated by Zhang Lei and other lawyers soon garnered support from more than 300 lawyers.
After six hours of illegal detention, attorney Zhang Keke was released. He has filed a complaint against the police and the court, citing the illegal arrest and detention.