(Minghui.org) Five residents from Jinzhong City, Shanxi Province were recently tried together for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.

The two women and three men were taken into police custody in February 2014, amidst a new wave of arrests of Falun Gong practitioners initiated by Shen Jianjun, head of Yuci District Domestic Security Office in Jinzhong City.

The local procuratorate dismissed their cases three times, citing insufficient evidence. Shen, however, worked to fabricate more evidence against the five practitioners and eventually sent them to court on May 28 of this year.

During the trial, the lawyers defended the practitioners' constitutional right to freedom of belief in Falun Gong and demanded their acquittal. The judge and the public prosecutor were unable to refute the defense arguments, yet they refused to declare the practitioners' innocence.

One lawyer held the hands of Liu Zengfang, a college professor in his seventies: “You should not stand here as a defendant. This is the tragedy and disgrace of the Chinese Court.”

Outside the courthouse, more than ten plainclothes agents were busy questioning passers-by, especially those carrying bags. Two other plainclothes agents took pictures and videotaped the ones being searched.

A total of 15 Falun Gong practitioners who came from the nearby city of Taiyuan to support the defendants were arrested after the police found Falun Gong material in their bags. They were shoved into a bus waiting nearby with more than 20 fully armed police officers already inside.

Shen, the domestic security office head who orchestrated the arrest, shouted at the newly arrested practitioners: “I have already arrested all the Falun Gong practitioners from Yuci, and you guys from Taiyuan are not welcome here.” He also bragged about how the trial of the five Yuci practitioners was a major feather in the cap for him.

The 15 Taiyuan practitioners were released in the wee hours that day after they were forced to write statements renouncing their belief.

The five Yuci practitioners remain detained: Tang Huafeng, Liu Zengfang, Zheng Jianmei, Wang Shuangchun and Cheng Xiande.

The perpetrator list can be found from the Chinese article.

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