(Minghui.org) A 56-year-old woman from Hebei District, Tianjin was sentenced to four and a half years late last year for her belief in Falun Gong, a self-cultivation system being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.

According to her family, Ms. Miao Fengling was tortured and subsequently developed hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) not long after she was sent to Tianjin Women's Prison on December 12, 2014. All her illnesses were gone after she began to practice Falun Gong in 1996, but now the persecution turned her back into a person suffering from poor health in just a few weeks.

While Ms. Miao serves time for committing no crime, her child misses her tender care, and her husband is left without a job after the local authorities pressured his workplace to fire him.

From Indictment to Guilty Verdict – A Process Marred by Deceit

Ms. Miao was arrested from her own home back on December 17, 2012 and subsequently released on bail 38 days later.

More than a year later, she was summoned to the local police station to sign a document which the police claimed was needed to close her case with no further prosecution. However, she wasn't given a chance to read the document there.

When she was finally allowed to look at her copy of the document upon returning home, she realized that she had been duped into signing her own indictment for trial.

At her first trial on May 12, 2014, Ms. Miao testified to how Falun Gong transformed her life. She had a freak accident at age 16, which left her pelvis fractured. She had to use crutches for support and wear layers of clothing even in hot summer days. All her complications disappeared after she began to practice Falun Gong. She also became a better person following the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and began to enjoy a harmonious family life.

She asked to be acquitted since her practice of Falun Gong broke no law and the freedom of belief is protected by the Chinese Constitution.

In response, the judge announced that Ms. Miao should return home to await another trial.

Towards the end of the second trial on August 22, 2014, the judge asked Ms. Miao to return to the court seven days later to sign a legal document. When her husband accompanied her to the court on August 29, however, she was arrested and sent straight to Hebei District Detention Center.

Ms. Miao was soon sentenced to four and a half years. Her husband hired a lawyer to appeal her verdict, but the Tianjin Municipal Intermediate Court simply informed the lawyer of its decision to uphold the sentence without holding a hearing or hearing a defense opinion. Her family now has to see her suffer at the hands of the CCP with no legal recourse.