(Minghui.org) Two female Falun Gong practitioners were recently arrested, one of them for producing materials promoting Falun Gong and the other for specified reasons. Despite the Chinese Constitution protecting the freedom of belief and the lack of any laws outlawing Falun Gong, these practitioners were sent to prison on trumped up charges. They became seriously ill during their incarceration.

Illegal Trial and Sentencing

Ms. Yang Benhui and Ms. Zhan Lanzhen were tried by the Jiulongpo District Court on the morning of January 24, 2014. They had been illegally detained for 17 months prior to the trial. Ms. Yang was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and Ms. Zhan to 5 years.

The two practitioners appealed their sentences at the fifth branch of the Chongqing Intermediate Court. However, the appeals court upheld the verdict without notifying or consulting with their lawyers on February 28. In doing so they violated the Chinese Code of Criminal Procedures, article 220, paragraph 2, which states, “In the case the appeals court decides not to conduct a trial, the court should solicit opinions from the defendants, their lawyers and a Procurator.”

Update on Their Condition

One month after the appeals court upheld Ms. Yang's sentence, her family received a phone call from Zouma Women's Prison and was told that Ms. Yang was incarcerated at the prison's first ward. The person on the phone also told the family that Ms. Yang was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease and that she refused to take medicine.

Her family demanded to know why she could not be released for medical parole given her condition, but were not given an answer by the prison authorities.

Ms. Zhan went on a hunger strike to protest her unlawful detention at the Huayan Detention Center. After her failed appeal, she was supposed to have been transferred to the Zouma Women's Prison. However, she failed the physical examination and was returned to the detention center on March 21. Detention center officials tried again on March 27, but the prison officials again refused to admit her.

Her family was not made aware of any of this, and only found out when they tried to visit her at the Zouma Women's Prison. They finally got confirmation on March 31 that she was still held at the Huayan Detention Center. However, they were not allowed to see her.

Ms. Zhan's family again tried to visit her at the detention center in the afternoon of April 11, and were told that she was in the hospital. They then received a call on the same evening from the police, telling them to sign a document consenting to surgery for Ms. Zhan, but still denying them the right to visit her.

Parties involved in the persecution:

Gao Zhongqiu ( 高重秋), head of Chongqing 610 Office: +86-13320229602 Li Shaoyu (黎绍玉), head of Jiulongpo 610 Office: +86-23-68781805 He Liwei ( 何立伟), secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee: +86-13808386681 Wang Lixin (王立新), judge of the Chongqing Intermediate Court: +86-23-63905542