Practitioner Sentenced to Three and a Half Years in Prison at Show Trial, Family Members Physically Assaulted by Police
(Minghui.org) Ms. Liang Guifen was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on December 27, 2013, by chief judge Liang Youbin at the Maogang District Court in Maoming City, Guangdong Province.
She was prevented from speaking in her own defense by the chief judge. The show trial took only 15 minutes, from 10:15 to 10:30. Her family members went to the Maogang Police Department on the same day to appeal, but were physically assaulted and threatened.
Ms. Liang Guifen, 57, is a practitioner from Poxin Town in the Maogang District of Maoming. She was reading the book Zhuan Falun with 13 other practitioners on November 2, 2013, when she was arrested by 30 officers from the Maogang Police Department, domestic security division and the Poxin Police Station. Her home was ransacked, and her Dafa books and truth clarification materials were confiscated. She was charged with a “gang crime” and is currently detained at the No. 1 Detention Center in Maoming.
During the trial on December 27, chief judge Liang Youbin did not mention the testimony jointly signed by the 13 practitioners and submitted to the court two days prior, but did read the fabricated evidence provided by the public prosecutor. He then sentenced Ms. Liang to 3.5 years in prison. When Ms. Liang asked to speak, he ignored her and ended the trial.
One of Ms. Liang's relatives said to him: “My relative did not commit a crime. You know the law, but you do not uphold it.” He responded by saying: “You can appeal, but you have only 10 days to do so.”
The relative then questioned the reason for 10 days as opposed to two months as stipulated by the law for appeal periods. He did not answer, but simply said that he would mail the verdict to the relatives before he rushed out of the courtroom.
At about 10:40, Ms. Liang Guifen left the courthouse in a police vehicle, and more officers were assigned outdoors to prevent Ms. Liang's relatives from coming near. Her relatives expressed their support for Ms. Liang by saying out loud together: “Falun Dafa is good!”
Family Members Blocked from Auditing the Trial
Prior to the trial, a court political instructor only allowed 10 relatives to enter the courtroom. The other 30 were not allowed in. Her relatives asked if there was a law that forbade them from entering, and if so, to state that law. The instructor did not answer.
One of Ms. Liang's relatives then said, “You are stopping people from entering the courtroom because you are afraid of being exposed.” The instructor remained silent. Three more relatives were later allowed to enter the courtroom, but their entry was delayed by the bailiff. The trial was over before they made their way in.
Family Members Physically Assaulted at the Maogang District Police Station
After Ms. Liang's relatives left the courthouse, they went directly to the Maogang District Police Station to look for the director of the domestic security division, as they learned from the court that he might be of some help to Ms. Liang's case.
The relatives were told that no one from the domestic security division was in the office. However, as Ms. Liang's relatives continued knocking on the door of the domestic security division, a group of officers came out.
They pushed the family members violently and dragged them downstairs. One relative cried out, “You cannot beat me.” Another one shared later that a policeman twisted her hand, dragged her to the first floor and pushed her before leaving. She nearly fell to the ground. One officer had his hands around a woman’s neck, choking her.
Ms. Liang's relatives were told that they would be arrested if they came to the police department again. An officer told them to send three representatives to the Appeals Office, but the office didn't open the door for them. Ms. Liang's relatives had to leave.
Lawyer Threatened and Failed to Perform His Duty
On December 23, 2013, Ms. Liang Guifen and another practitioner Ms. Liang Qiuyuan were put on trial at the Maogang Court. This was the first trial, followed by the December 27 sentence.
Both practitioners argued that the evidence submitted by the public prosecutor Huang Haibin was incorrect, and that the allegations against them were fabricated.
Lawyer Mai Haolan was hired to defend Ms. Liang Guifen, but failed to submit a not guilty plea for his client. He told Ms. Liang's family members that he had been threatened by the authorities and was afraid that they would kill him if he did so.
The 13 practitioners who were studying the Fa with Ms. Liang Guifen at the time of her arrest wrote a statement in her defense and jointly signed it. When Ms. Liang's family members presented this to the court on December 25, 2012, staff at the court initially refused to accept it. But after persistent efforts by Ms. Liang's family, it was eventually accepted.
After the court accepted the joint statement as testimony, an officer from the Maogang Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) questioned lawyer Mai. They scolded him: “How did you defend your clients? Why did her relatives send this signed testimony to the court? Did you tell them to do it?”
Mr. Mai felt threatened by the police, and said that he would call the relatives to find out what was going on. He later told the relatives that the evidence provided by the practitioners would not be helpful in court.
On the day of the second trial on December 27, Ms. Liang's relatives asked Mr. Mai to get a copy of the verdict from the court, but the lawyer said he was too afraid to ask. The family members explained that it was important to get a copy of the verdict in person to meet the unreasonable appeal period of 10 days. With the help of Ms. Liang's relatives, lawyer Mai finally managed to obtain a copy of the verdict from the court.
People directly involved in Ms. Liang's case:
Chief judge Liang Youbin (梁友斌) at the Maogang Court: +86-0668-2688802 (office)
Prosecutor Huang Haibin (黄海滨) at the Maogang Procuratorate: +86-0668-2682712 (office)
Lawyer Mai Haolan (麦颢蓝): +86-18926723566 (mobile) and +86-0668-2897563 (office)
Ms. Liang Guifen's Daughter Li Songrong's open letter