Judge Disallows Defense Arguments in Trial Against Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) "This is common sense, no need to explain," said the prosecutor, when the defense attorney asked how possessing Falun Gong related materials and participating in Falun Gong-related activities could be considered a crime.
For their belief in Falun Gong, Mr. Wang Bin and Ms. Li Jianmei were put on trial in the Huaiyin District Court in Jinan City, Shandong Province on February 13, 2015.
When the defense attorney stated that it is the defendants' constitutional right to practice Falun Gong, the judge cut him off and prevented him from speaking further.
Defense Attorney's Appeal Rejected
When judge Zhu Zhenju announced the period for rebuttal, the defense attorney pointed out that the case was related to the persecution of a belief on a nationwide scale. Therefore, the Huaiyin District Court, as a lower court, should have the case transferred to the Supreme Court.
The judge then called a five-minute recess. He returned after more than 10 minutes and disallowed the lawyer's request. Not only that, he denied the right to any future appeal without any explanation.
Prosecutor Fails to Back Up Charges
The prosecutor charged the defendants with possessing Falun Gong related materials and participating in Falun Gong related activities, but failed to explain why these are considered a crime. When the defense called this into question, the prosecutor said, “This is common sense, no need to explain.”
The prosecutor refused to provide his evidence during the trial and the defense attorney argued that it was obtained without following legal procedures. The prosecutor claimed, “All evidence was acquired through legal channels and therefore are considered to be lawfully obtained evidence.” However, he did not provide any details on how the evidence was obtained.
Furthermore, no witnesses were allowed to testify during the trial. Ms. Li Jianmei's daughter, a potential witness, was denied admission to the proceedings “because she was a witness,” but was not allowed to testify.
The judge also repeatedly interrupted the statements of the defense attorneys and the defendants.
Practitioner Arrested Outside the Courthouse
A large number of uniformed and plainclothes police officers were assigned to monitor the court entrance. About 10 plainclothes officers attended the hearing, leaving a total of 20 seats to the public.
Outside the courthouse, about eight officers arrested Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhou Dongdong. They claimed that she was on the wanted list. Ms. Zhou was detained for 10 days.
Judge Declares Torture Account “Irrelevant”
Mr. Wang Bin, in his 30s, could not speak coherently and clearly during the trial. He said that he was mistreated while in detention, but was unable to talk about it further.
Ms. Li Jianmei, a healthy woman before her arrest, had to be assisted while entering the court room. Ms. Li said that she was tortured with the death bed torture method at the detention center. The judge interrupted her, stating that this was “irrelevant” to the case.
Ms. Li was arrested in April 2014. Her case was returned by the Huaiyin District Procuratorate twice to the Huaiyin Police Department for additional investigation.
She has been sentenced to forced labor camps three times for her belief in Falun Gong.