Lawyers Assaulted, Barred from Defending Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) During the trial of six Falun Gong practitioners by the Feixiang District Court on October 11, 2016, one of the defense lawyers was beaten by the bailiffs and barred from the courtroom, another lawyer was constantly interrupted by the judge during his defense presentation, and the six defendants were deprived of their right to defend themselves.
The defendants were arrested on January 26, 2016 for distributing flyers about the persecution of Falun Gong by the communist regime. They were then held in the Feixiang Detention Center for more than nine months. Their names are Mr. Li Congchun, Mr. Li Mingtao, Mr. Shen Youliang, Ms. Wang Yingru, Ms. Wan Meihua, and Ms. Luo Jinyu.
Mr. Li Congchun, 71, and Mr. Li Mingtao, 45, had previously been imprisoned for practicing Falun Gong. Mr. Li Mingtao was tortured during his 11 years of imprisonment, including being shocked by electric batons, hung up, savagely beaten, deprived of sleep, held in solitary confinement, and had his fingers hit with pliers.
The four-hour court session ended without a verdict.
Lawyer Assaulted by Bailiff, Barred from Courtroom
Lawyer Dong Qianyong's backpack was searched by court staff. However, under Chinese law, lawyers are exempt from security searches.
Although he agreed to the search, the court officials took him to an office where a man from a higher court was present. After Dong asked why the man was there, a bailiff slapped his face twice. His glasses fell to the ground and broke.
The lawyer demanded to know why he was slapped. The bailiff said, “Beating is one of the ways to enhance law enforcement.”
The lawyer's complaint to the presiding judge about the bailiff fell on deaf ears. As the lawyer prepared to call the procuratorate to file a formal complaint, the bailiffs confiscated his two cellphones, saying it was to prevent the lawyer from recording the trial.
The judge and bailiff did not allow the lawyer into the courtroom.
Lawyer Dong then went to the procuratorate to file the complaint. After he came back to the court, the bailiff held his hands behind his back, searched his body, and checked his phone. The court staff tore open his briefcase and dumped all the case documents all over the ground.
The lawyer was later removed from the courtroom and not allowed to defend his client.
Shortly after the trial started, presiding judge Liu Yanfeng announced that lawyer Dong Qianyong failed to appear in court.
The other lawyer, Zhang Zanning, argued with Judge Liu that it was he who did not allow Mr. Dong to enter the courtroom. Judge Liu ignored him and continued with the trial.
Second Lawyer Cut Off During Defense
Although lawyer Zhang Zanning, who was representing another practitioner, was allowed into the courtroom, the judge constantly interrupted his defense. At one point, the judge suddenly stopped him and asked other people to talk.
When the lawyer ignored the judge and continued to talk, the judge pounded the gavel harshly, yelled at the lawyer, and threatened to suspend his right of defense.
The mother of his client, Mr. Li Mingtao, also wanted to defend him, but Judge Liu did not allow her to speak. She protested to the judge after seeing the judge repeatedly restricting defense arguments for the practitioners. As a result, she was dragged out of the court by bailiffs.
Defendants Deprived of Right to Defend Themselves
The judge also denied the defendants' right to speak on their own behalf.
During cross-examination, several practitioners wanted to defend themselves but were stopped by Judge Liu, who promised to allow time during the free speech stage. However, the practitioners were not allowed to talk during the free speech stage.
Judge Liu first asked practitioner Mr. Li Congchun to speak but did not allow him to say more than two sentences. Mr. Li told the judge that he should treat him with respect and let justice be served.
The judge cut him off and asked the second defendant Mr. Li Mingtao to talk. “Do you object to the charges against you?” the judge asked.
“I didn't do anything wrong by practicing Falun Gong,” said Mr. Li, “or by being a good person and following Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The charges against us are false.”
The judge stopped him and then asked the third defendant Mr. Shen Youliang. “Do you object to the charges?”
Before Mr. Shen replied, the judge went ahead and said, “You don't, do you?”
Judge Liu and the prosecutor Li Wenying read the questions quickly and with a heavy accent. The defendants had trouble understanding what was said. The free speech stage for the six defendants ended in less than seven minutes.
Plainclothes officers surrounded the court, and all the streets to the court were blockaded by police cars. The officers were on high alert to prevent anyone from getting close.
When the practitioners' family members and lawyers arrived at the court, their car was blocked by the officers, and everyone was forced to show their identification.
Judge Liu then passed out 16 attendance permits to the 6 defendants' families. No one without a permit was allowed to attend the officially open trial, including the defendants' family members.
Eight local Falun Gong practitioners who came to the support the defendants were arrested by police. All but two were held for 15 days in a detention center.
Related article in Chinese:开庭陷害法轮功学员-邯郸法院警察殴打辩护律师
Responsible parties:Liu Yanfeng (柳延峰), presiding judge, Feixiang Court in Hebei Province: +86-18031061889Yin Lijun (殷立君), party secretary, Feixiang County: +86-310-8668999, +86-18103305999Pan Jiqiang (潘纪强), head, Feixiang County Police Department: +86-310-8557801, +86-13903100180Yan Yanmin (闫艳民), head, Feixiang County Domestic Security Division:+86-13315065168Tian Jingbin (田敬宾), director, Feixiang County 610 Office: +86-310-8555876, +86-13932004899Zhao Hongshan (赵洪山), head, Feixiang County: +86-310-8550266, +86-13931004668Wei Xiping (魏锡平), secretary, Feixiang County Political and Legal Affairs Committee: +86-310-8550588 (Office), +86-13831069788