Heilongjiang Court Holds Second Hearing in Retrial of Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) Ms. Cheng Jinzhi and Ms. Li Junying were again tried by the Ranghulu District Court on November 16, 2015 for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
In April 2015, Ms. Cheng and Ms. Li were sentenced to prison terms of seven and a half years and seven years, respectively. They appealed to the Daqing Intermediate Court, which overturned the sentence due to “unclear facts and insufficient evidence” and ordered a re-trial.
Limping into the courtroom, a gaunt, grey-haired Ms. Cheng was greeted by relatives and friends, who applauded her entrance. In response, Judge Shi adjourned the hearing and ordered the bailiff to expel over 100 spectators.
At the next hearing on November 30, only seven of her family members were allowed into the courtroom. Ms. Cheng refused to answer to the judge due to the absence of her two lawyers, who she speculates did not receive notice of the new hearing date.
The two practitioners defended themselves based on freedom of belief, and indicated that they would file another appeal.
As in the previous trial, the prosecutor recommended sentences of seven years for the “repeat offenders,” referring to the women's previous prison terms for refusing to renounce their belief in Falun Gong.
No verdict has been announced at the time of writing.
Ms. Cheng and Ms. Li were arrested in October 2014 and detained for more than one year. Ms. Cheng's health worsened due to depression and poor conditions in the detention center. However, her applications for a medical exam were ignored many times.
Perpetrators' contact information:Li Zhuolin (李卓琳), president of Ranghulu District Court: +86-459-5994066, +86-13359596123Shi Hongbin (施宏滨), judge and president of criminal tribunal, Ranghulu District Court: +86-13359596012Sun Xuecai (孙学才), public prosecutor, Ranghulu District Procuratorate: +86-13359590317