(Minghui.org) Nine Falun Gong practitioners were illegally sentenced to prison for installing satellite receivers to watch overseas TV programs. The verdicts were issued by the Zhongshan District Court in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, on January 27, 2014. The terms of imprisonment ranged from 4 to 6 years.

Mr. Ju Zhongshan was sentenced to 6 years; Mr. Zhu Chengqian to 5 years and 9 months; Mr. Pei Zhenbo to 5 years and 6 months; Ms. Pan Xiuqing to 5 years and 3 months; Mr. Wang Shouchen, Mr. Shi Zhanshun and Ms. Bai Ruyu to 4 years and 6 months; and Mr. Yu Bo and Mr. Guo Song to 4 years.

All of the practitioners filed an appeal.

Mass Arrests and Torture in Detention

The Dalian City 610 Office, Political and Legal Affairs Committee, Police Department, Domestic Security Division, local police stations and community offices colluded to arrest nearly 100 Falun Gong practitioners on July 6, 2012.

The practitioners were accused of installing, or helping others install, satellite receivers to watch independent television networks from overseas. These practitioners were incarcerated and tortured. Their homes were searched and ransacked by police.

Ms. Zhang Guilian, 65, died on August 5, 2012, in the Dalian Detention Center as a result of the torture.

Due to the beatings, Mr. Qu Bin and Mr. Zhang Guoli were on the brink of death. Ms. Hou Chunli's legs were broken, and her kidneys damaged. Mr. Ju Zhongshan was hospitalized three times.

Questionable Court Proceedings

The Zhongshan District Court unexpectedly announced on the evening of April 11, 2013, that the trial for 13 arrested practitioners scheduled for the next morning was canceled. Many supporters, including the practitioners' defense lawyers, families and friends, didn't get the message in time and showed up at the courthouse on April 12.

Two of the defense attorneys were arrested, and police beat attorney Cheng Hai, who is in his 60s.

The Zhongshan District Court tried the 13 practitioners in another location, the Xigang Court, on the morning of June 21, 2013. The 13 practitioners were Mr. Ju Zhongshan, Mr. Zhu Chengqian, Mr. Wang Shouchen, Mr. Pei Zhenbo, Mr. Shi Zhanshun, Mr. Yu Bo, Mr. Guo Song, Ms. Pan Xiuqing, Ms. Bai Ruyu, Ms. Li Shengjie, Mr. Wang Tao, Mr. She Yue, and Ms. Lin Lihong.

Nine defense lawyers were present at the trial, entering not-guilty pleas for their clients. The attorneys provided evidence of unlawful actions by the officials and police involved in the case. The court recessed many times, as the judges and the prosecutors could not come up with counter-arguments. The trial adjourned at 8:30 p.m., to be continued another day.

The court planned to resume the trial on July 5, 2013. However, it did not follow proper judicial procedures, giving a very short notice to the defense attorneys. In protest, the attorneys decided not to show up in court. The court then had to pick another date.

Subsequently, the Zhongshan District Court attempted to try 11 of the 13 practitioners in Xigang Court on August 2, 2013. On the day of the trial, officers of the courthouse beat defense lawyer Cheng Hai. The rest of the attorneys withdrew in protest.

Lawless Trials

The court tried two practitioners, Ms. Lin Lihong and Mr. Wang Tao, on October 21 and 22, 2013.

Ten more practitioners were tried on October 29. They included Mr. Ju Zhongshan, Mr. Zhu Chengqian, Mr. Wang Shouchen, Mr. Pei Zhenbo, Mr. Shi Zhanshun, Mr. Yu Bo, Mr. Guo Song, Ms. Pan Xiuqing, Ms. Bai Ruyu, and Ms. Li Shengjie.

Neither the defense attorneys nor the families were present in court. The judges told practitioners to fire their lawyers, but practitioners refused. The trial continued for another half hour.

The court tried the 13th practitioner, Mr. She Yue, on December 27, 2013. One day before the trial, the detention center denied his family to see him. The family suspected that he was not fit for the trial and applied for a postponement of the trial date. However, the court denied their request.

On the day of the trial, Mr. She was seen in a wheelchair in a police vehicle and appeared to be unconscious. The defense lawyer refused to appear in court, and the trial was adjourned.

Later, the court tried another arrested practitioner, Mr. Qu Bin. He was also in a wheelchair and in bad physical condition. His wife defended him. The trial was completed in 10 minutes.