Heilongjiang Woman Secretly Tried, Request for Retrial Denied
(Minghui.org) A woman from Harbin, Helongjiang Province was tried for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. The court didn’t inform her family as required by law, and also refused to address the fact that the police violated legal procedures during their arrest and interrogation of her.
When Ms. Cui Fenglan requested a new trial, the court denied her request, and the police threatened her family days later.
Confiscation of Large Amount of Cash
Ms. Cui was arrested on May 6, 2016 while picking up some decorative accessories that she'd ordered. She was given 13 days of administrative detention before being switched to criminal detention.
The police ransacked her home shortly after her arrest. They took away a large amount of cash and cash equivalents, including 67,000 yuan, 2,300 U.S. dollars, and a debit card with 9,000 U.S. dollars on it. Numerous non-cash valuables were also confiscated.
The police never provided Ms. Cui with a list of confiscated items as required by law.
A group of officers took turns interrogating Ms. Cui for more than 7 hours straight. They used various tactics to try to weaken her willpower. They also deceived her into giving her signature, which they affixed to their interrogation records.
Both Police and Judge Violate Legal Procedures
Ms. Cui was tried on November 18. When she questioned why her family wasn’t informed, judge Ma Shinuo replied that higher-ups prohibit the courts from informing families of Falun Gong practitioners regarding trials.
Ms. Cui wasn’t given enough time to find a lawyer willing to take on her case, and the one her family hired entered a guilty plea for her. She then decided to testify in her own defense. She emphasized that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and she should never have been prosecuted for exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief.
Judge Ma denied Ms. Cui’s request to have the interrogation videotape played in court, as well as her request to investigate the police for their interrogation tactics and irregularities in ransacking her home.
Request for Retrial Denied
Judge Ma convicted Ms. Cui, but the verdict was never delivered to Ms. Cui. She hired a new lawyer to help her seek a new trial.
The new lawyer submitted a retrial request to judge Ma and prosecutor Gu Lixin on December 6. He visited Ma on December 14, and the latter told him to talk to the procuratorate because Ms. Cui’s case had concluded.
Gu said she had no problem with a new trial, but she needed to consult with her supervising agency.
The lawyer had a meeting with Ma and Gu on December 15, and was told that no retrial would be allowed. He filed a revised legal opinion to Ma and Gu on December 18, but the officials refused to accept it.
The local police visited Ms. Cui’s daughter and ex-husband on December 20 and pressured them to persuade Ms. Cui to stop her efforts to seek a retrial.