(Minghui.org) When a group of Falun Gong practitioners from Jilin City refused to drop their lawyers in exchange for lighter sentences, the two district courts in charge of their cases resorted to delay tactics. They used various excuses to prevent the lawyers from establishing formal legal representation of their clients or reviewing case files in preparation for defense arguments. Sadly, such abuse of the law is the norm in China with regards to Falun Gong, a spiritual practice being unlawfully persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.

Although the Changyi and Chuanying District Courts received the practitioners' cases more than a year ago, neither of them has made any efforts to hold trials or issue verdicts. This itself is a violation of the law, which stipulates that the prosecution of defendants must move through an applicable legal process within a certain time frame.

At the time of writing, the two courts remain non-responsive to the defense lawyers' requests, while the practitioners are being detained beyond legally permissible terms.

Lawyer's Latest Requests Again Unanswered

The lawyer for Mr. Deng Xiaobo, one of the practitioners concerned, again went to the Changyi County Court on February 27, 2015, requesting to see his client's case documents.

The same lawyer has made repeated requests to review Mr. Deng's case since it was forwarded to the court in December 2013, only to be denied every time.

The attorney didn't fare any better in his February visit. Case handler Fu Wenzhong refused to meet with him and show him Mr. Deng's case file. The lawyer next turned to court president Liu Guangbin, only to be referred back to Fu. When the lawyer reiterated the court's legal violation in delaying the case for so long, Fu, who only agreed to talk on the phone, declined to address his concern.

The lawyer filed another complaint against the court with the Jilin City Procuratorate, but the receptionist refused to take any action to help him.

Mr. Deng's lawyer is not alone. Following their group arrest in October 2013, ten Falun Gong practitioners from Jilin, including Mr. Deng, hired 15 lawyers to defend their constitutional right to practice Falun Gong.

All of the lawyers have seen their fair share of court interference in their efforts to represent their clients. Another case in point: the attorney for brothers Mr. Li Dexiang and Mr. Li Dequan, who both practice Falun Gong, was never able to secure appointments with the judge and those who handled his clients' cases at the Changyi District Court, let alone review the case files.

A Third District Court Jumps on Delay-tactic Bandwagon

Mr. Deng's lawyer was denied access to his client's case file on the same day that another attorney received the same treatment from a different court.

Falun Gong practitioner Mr. Han Yongqiang was arrested on August 1, 2014 and has been detained since then. When his lawyer went to the Gaoxin District Court on February 27, the judge there refused to meet with him or allow him to read the case file, citing an executive order. The lawyer lodged a complaint with the Jilin City Procuratorate but so far has not received a response.