(Minghui.org) When eight Falun Gong practitioners were tried for intercepting television signals, their defense lawyers were threatened in court, and two attendees were later arrested. One defendant testified that she was beaten by police and suffered several broken bones.
The practitioners were arrested in late March 2014 from their homes or workplaces for suspected involvement in making videos exposing the communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong and intercepting TV broadcast signals.
Because Falun Gong practitioners in China are denied legal forms of protest, some have resorted to alternative means to inform the public of the brutal torture and other abuses inflicted upon their fellow practitioners for their belief.
The eight defendants included Yan Hong, Li Xuangang, Guan Dengyang, Zhou Deyuan, Zhang Lingge, Liu Chunxia, Zhang Xinqi, and Yao Dahua. The trial was held by Changsha County Court in Hunan Province on January 28 and 29, 2015.
Defense lawyers argued that the practitioners had a constitutional freedom to practice their spiritual beliefs; thus, producing Falun Gong media materials breaks no law. The court ignored the argument.
Defendant Ms. Zhang Xinqi testified that she requested to retain an attorney during her detention, but was denied by the authorities. When the other practitioners' lawyers offered to help her find legal representation, the court ordered Ms. Zhang removed from the courtroom. After a brief recess, the court announced that she would be tried separately.
The lawyers argued that it was a violation of Ms. Zhang's rights for the authorities to deny her legal representation. Instead of trying her separately, the court should give her time to find an attorney, they asserted.
The trial was adjourned, and dozens of officers swarmed the courtroom. Some of them swore at the defense lawyers and threatened to throw them in jail. Others surrounded the attendees section.
Mr. Zhang Xinqi testified that she was beaten by police after her arrest. When she woke up from a coma, she found herself lying in a hospital bed with a dislodged collarbone and six broken ribs. She was later transferred to Laodaohe Brainwashing Center. She also said that she did not receive proper medical treatment for her injuries.
Mr. Li Xuangang, 49, told the court that police had threatened not to return his car that was impounded during his arrest if he would not cooperate. Mr. Li had previously served four years in prison and one year in a forced labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. (See more background on Mr. Li)
Ms. Yan Hong told the court that the police had forged her interrogation record. As she continued to testify on the abuses she suffered during her previous six-year prison term for practicing Falun Gong, prosecutors interrupted her on the grounds that it was irrelevant to the trial. Her lawyer objected and pointed out that the prison term was mentioned in the indictment.
Families and Friends Barred from Trial
The court told the defendants' families that only selected representatives could attend the trial, and that family members were forbidden to “leak information” to the public.
On the trial day, dozens of uniformed and plainclothes police officers guarded the courthouse, and questioned and photographed the attendees. Among the 100 seats in the courtroom, only 20 were taken by family members. The rest were occupied by police officers.
The next day, police arrested two of the attendees for unknown reasons.
Perpetrators' Contact Information:Luo Lingli, judge, +86-731-84015581Chen Shuzi and Wang Bingmei, judge assistantsLi Li, courthouse secretaryLi Dongnan, prosecutor
More perpetrators' information can be found in the Chinese version.