(Minghui.org) Officials from the Changyi and Chuangying District Courts in Jilin City have tried almost everything in their power to prevent attorneys from representing local practitioners during recent months. They have refused to accept legal documentation from these attorneys, using excuses such as their licenses were not issued in Jilin Province, and they would not let them review the case files.

The attorneys have filed complaints at the Jilin City Procuratorate and Intermediate Court against officials from the two district courts for violating existing Chinese Lawyers Law, which states that licensed lawyers can practice law without geographical restrictions. They have also exposed such illegal conduct on the Internet.

After failed attempts to force practitioners' family members to fire these attorneys, the court officials have now turned to the detained practitioners to try and pressure them to fire their attorneys.

Attempting to prevent defense attorneys from getting involved

More than 30 practitioners from Jilin City were arrested during a large scale arrest in October 2013. They include Zhu Yujun, Ms. Deng Xiaopo, Wang Zheguang, Ma Chi, Mr. Meng Fanyi, Mr. Sun Changsheng, Mr. Li Dequan, Mr. Li Dexiang and Ms. Che Pingping, who are being held at the Jilin City Detention Center and are facing trial.

Attorney Li Guobei, representing Ms. Deng Xiaopo, went to the Changyi District Court on December 25, 2013, and again on January 16, 2014, to ask to review the case file. Officials Fu Wenzhong, Shan Lianhong and presiding judge Liu Guangbin turned her down twice, using the excuse that her license was not issued in Jilin Province.

Attorney Zhao Yongli, representing Ms. Che Pingping, and Attorney Fu Yonggang, representing Mr. Sun Changsheng, sent legal documents to judge Li Zhongcheng of the Chuanying District Court in late February 2014, through express mail. However, it was returned with a note stating that there is no such person at this address.

Attorneys Zhao and Fu and the two practitioners' family members went to the Chuangying District Court on March 5 and March 6, 2014, in an attempt to submit the paperwork in person. Judge Li said that he didn't have time and refused to talk to them. He also would not accept the documents because the two attorneys held “out-of-province” licenses.

Officials from the county detention center called Ms. Che Pingping's family on March 11, 2014, and told them that Ms. Che wanted to fire her attorney. The family did not believe them. Two days later, officials from the Chuanying District 610 Office contacted Ms. Che's family member's employers and told them to pressure Ms. Che's family into firing the attorney, but it didn't work.

Officials from the Chuanying District Court tried to force Mr. Sun's family to fire his attorney on April 3, 2014, but they also refused.

After several failed attempts to force practitioners' families to fire these defense attorneys, the court officials have now turned to the detained practitioners. They told Mr. Sun and Mr. Meng Fanyi that using an attorney would not change the outcome of their case and the attorneys would not be allowed to appear in court. They also threatened to give heavy sentences if they used an attorney and said that if they don't use an attorney, they could receive shorter sentences or even be released on bail.

Officials from Changyi District Court and the local 610 Office also tried to pressure Mr. Li Dequan and Mr. Li Dexiang's family into firing their defense attorney, but they have refused to do so.