(Minghui.org) A Cangxi County resident was secretly sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
Ms. Deng Shaoqun’s lawyer was prepared to defend her constitutional right to freedom of belief, but Cangxi Court never informed him or Ms. Deng’s family of the time and location of the trial.
This is not the first time the 63-year-old woman has been targeted for her faith. She was arrested four times between 2000 and 2010 for her faith and given 1.5 years of forced labor following her arrest in March 2006.
Ms. Deng was seized the moment she walked out of her apartment complex on April 22 of this year. More than ten agents surrounded her and demanded that she return to her apartment for a talk. She refused and was body searched.
The agents divided into two groups, with one group taking Ms. Deng to Guangyuan City Detention Center and another using the key confiscated from her to enter her apartment.
Ms. Deng’s husband, who became paralyzed after a stroke in 2004, was lying in bed when the agents broke in. He heard the agents making a big mess in his house. They took away Ms. Deng’s Falun Gong books and other personal items.
The detention center declined to accept Ms. Deng when the required medical examination indicated she had a heart problem. The police, however, pressured the detention center to admit her anyway. They also interrogated her with torture on site.
Ms. Deng’s son, Mr. Cheng Yong, and her lawyer, Mr. Tang Tianhao, went to Cangxi Court on September 28 to submit the required paperwork to establish the lawyers’ legal representation of her.
Liu Qiong (presiding judge), Peng Dairong (criminal court president), and Liu Dajun (vice court president) told Mr. Cheng and Mr. Tang that they had decided to announce a verdict against Ms. Deng the next day and that it was no use hiring a lawyer.
Mr. Cheng and Mr. Tang refused to leave. The three court officials then demanded an official document proving Mr. Cheng’s relationship with his mother and a signature from his father on the lawyer’s paperwork.
The officials were nowhere to be found when Mr. Cheng got his paralyzed father to the courthouse. The father and son, along with the lawyer, waited there for a long time before the officials emerged again.
This time, the officials said that Ms. Deng had decided against using a lawyer and produced a document with her signature.
Mr. Tang protested the court’s blatant violation of law, as every citizen has a right to use legal counsel and every lawyer has a right to represent his or her client.
The officials relented and accepted the lawyer’s paperwork.
The lawyer met with Ms. Deng in the afternoon and learned that she had never signed a document disavowing the use of a lawyer.
The court tried Ms. Deng on September 29 in a rented room in Guangyuan City Intermediate Court without informing her family and lawyer of the trial time and location.
Ms. Deng’s family visited the court days later and learned that she had been sentenced to 4.5 years. Judge Liu Qiong said the official copy of verdict would be delivered to Ms. Deng on October 8, but no copy would be given to the family.
Related Article in Chinese:四川省苍溪县邓绍群老人被非法关押近半年