(Minghui.org) A Luzhou City resident was tried for her beliefs while her lawyer was being blocked outside for protesting against the court’s unlawful practices.

Ms. Luo Shuizhen was arrested on December 25, 2015, for talking to people about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Her lawyer was prepared to defend her innocence, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.

The lawyer, however, was barred from attending the trial held on September 20, 2016. He expressed his disappointment in being deprived of the right to represent Ms. Luo in court, and reiterated his support for her efforts to bring the persecution to an end.

Sudden Change of Venue

When the lawyer received the trial notice on September 6, it stated that the hearing would be held on September 13 in Room 9 of Luzhou City Intermediate Court. He was also expecting a copy of the indictment, but the court never delivered the document to him as required by law.

The lawyer was notified a few days later that the hearing had been rescheduled for September 20, but the location remained unchanged.

The lawyer arrived at the courthouse at 8:00 a.m. on September 20. He didn’t see any sign of an imminent trial. A court clerk called him at around 8:30 a.m., saying that the venue had been changed to the courtroom inside Naxi Detention Center, where his client remained captive.

The lawyer protested against the sudden change of venue without advance notice, but there was not much he could do at that point.

Unlawful Security Check and Ban of Personal Computer

The lawyer rushed to the detention center, but was stopped outside. The bailiffs demanded that he go through a security check. He protested against the unlawful practice, as Chinese law exempts defense lawyers from such security checks.

The judge came out saying that the lawyer must leave behind his laptop and use a court-owned computer instead. The lawyer argued that no law forbids the use of personal computers in trials, and challenged the judge to present legal basis for his unreasonable action.

The judge ignored the lawyer and went inside to start the hearing, which concluded in less than 30 minutes.

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