Five Falun Gong Practitioners Facing Trial; Lawyers Denied Access to Case Files
(Minghui.org) Five Falun Gong practitioners and one of their non-practitioner sons were illegally arrested in Jiaohe City, Jilin Province, more than four months ago and have been detained ever since.
Mr. Zhang Shousheng, 62; Mr. He Changlong and his wife Ms. Lian Jinhua; and Ms. Yang Hongyan and her brother Mr. Yang Rui and non-practitioner son Mr. Wu Maotian are currently facing trial. The legal authorities are refusing to cooperate with the defendants' lawyers.
Mr. Zhang and Ms. Yang Hongyan and her brother Mr. Yang Rui and son Mr. Wu were arrested on May 11, 2016, by Jiaohe Domestic Security Division police. The three men were detained in Jiaohe Detention Center, while Ms. Yang Hongyan was detained in Jilin City Detention Center.
Ms. Lian Jinhua and Mr. He Changlong from Chaluhe Town were arrested by Jiaohe Domestic Security Division officers on the same day. Mr. He was detained in Jiaohe Detention Center and Ms. Lian was sent to Jilin Detention Center.
The families of the practitioners hired lawyers who were able to visit Ms. Yang Hongyan, Mr. Yang Rui, Ms. Lian, and Mr. He on May 24, 2016.
When the families asked about personal belongings that the police confiscated during the arrests and house searches, the lawyers informed them that the items should have been returned after the first stage of the investigation.
When officers from the Domestic Security Division learned that lawyers were involved, they returned some of the confiscated property but also told the families to dismiss the lawyers.
The lawyers for Ms. Yang Hongyan and Mr. He went to the Procuratorate and asked to review the case files, but were told that they needed to have written permission from the Political and Legal Affairs Committee.
The lawyers asked to see that rule in a legal document. The investigator from the Procuratorate, however, had nothing to show them, saying it was a verbal directive.
The lawyers knew the order came from the Domestic Security Division and filed a joint complaint against it.
Mr. Zhang, Mr. Yang Rui, Mr. Wu, Ms. Yang Hongyan, Ms. Lian, and Mr. He were placed under official arrest on June 6, 2016. Their cases were handed over to the court on July 18, 2016.
The lawyers and the practitioners' families went to the court on August 19, 2016, and asked to review the case files. Judge Sun Zhaoqiang, who was in charge of the cases, told them that outside lawyers were not allowed to review the case files. The lawyers then asked to see this rule in a legal document, which Sun could not produce.
The lawyers attempted to submit their case documents, but the judge refused to accept them.
The lawyers pointed out, “You are undermining the implementation of the law. You have hindered legal proceedings, which are clearly stated in 'Criminal Procedure Law.'”
Judge Sun finally told the lawyers the truth: The provincial Political and Legal Affairs Committee was behind the decision, and he didn't want to be the first one to go against orders.
The lawyers sent their case documents to the court by express mail. They have since learned that the court signed for the delivery the next day.