Supposedly Public Trial Closed to Defense Lawyer and Supporters of Wrongfully Accused Falun Gong Practitioner
(Minghui.org) The supposedly public trial of a Maoming city resident was closed to his defense lawyer and supporters. Only four family members of the defendant were allowed inside the courtroom, while the rest of the seats were filled with agents sent in by the local authorities.
Dr. Wu Zhiqi was charged with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime to frame and sentence Falun Gong practitioners.
He had hired his own lawyer, who entered a not-guilty plea for him, but the lawyer was barred from entering the courtroom. The judge instead appointed two lawyers without Dr. Wu's consent. The court-appointed lawyers kept mispronouncing his name as they made a guilty plea for their involuntary client.
The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict. Dr. Wu remains detained following his arrest in November 2015.
Prior to his latest detention, Dr. Wu spent seven years in prison and one year in a labor camp for refusing to renounce his faith in Falun Gong. His family worries that he may be subjected to the same kind of punishment for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief.
Defense Lawyer Monitored Before Trial, Pushed Outside Courtroom
Where the persecution of Falun Gong is very severe, it isn’t always easy to secure a lawyer to defend a practitioner. Dr. Wu was lucky to have rights lawyer Mr. Zhang Zanning represent him and enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf – the first time in Maoming City that a lawyer agreed to defend a Falun Gong practitioner’s innocence.
The authorities, however, spared no effort in thwarting Mr. Zhang from defending his client in court.
Mr. Zhang noted that he was monitored closely during his stay in the Dianbai District – the receptionist at his hotel was replaced by a plainclothes officer, several plainclothes officers stayed at the hotel entrance, and several police cars parked on the street facing the hotel. The police also took pictures of the taxi that he took to the court.
According to Dr. Wu’s family, more than 100 plainclothes officers and local 610 Office staff were posted outside the courthouse on the day of the trial. The entrance to the courthouse was closed, and only a side door remained half open. Bailiffs checked the IDs of anyone who came to attend the hearing.
When Mr. Zhang arrived, the bailiffs shoved him out the side door, even though he said several times that he was there to defend his client.
The lawyer waited outside and attempted to follow his client into the courtroom when the police escorted him in, but the bailiffs again shoved him out.
The lawyer then went to the Procuratorate to file a complaint against the court, only to be told that the 610 Office had ordered them not to accept it.
Supporters Blocked Outside
More than 20 relatives of Dr. Wu's came to show their support, but only his wife and their three children were allowed inside. The courtroom was filled with more than 50 people pre-arranged by the court, including 610 Office staff and other government officials.
In addition, the police harassed local Falun Gong practitioners two days before the trial, threatening them not to attend the trial. Several practitioners also received unexpected visits from the local police on the day of the hearing.
Ms. Lin Yanmei's 83-year-old father was determined to attend the trial, but he was stopped by two plainclothes officers when he tried to hail a motorcycle taxi. He walked instead, but the trial was already over when he was only half way to the courthouse. He had no choice but turn around to head back home.
Mr. Li Kun was stopped the moment he reached the courthouse and dragged into a car. He was driven back to his hometown of Poxin Town to be interrogated.
Mr. Liang Wei was summoned to the police station for a talk on the morning of the hearing, rendering him unable to go to the courthouse.
Ms. Chen Yiping and Mr. Wu Jincheng found themselves followed everywhere they went. The monitors didn't retreat until Dr. Wu's hearing was over.
Perpetrators' contact information:
Huang Fu (黄甫), president of Dianbai District Court: +86-668-5516598, +86-668-5116333, +86-13902548033Lin Ming (林明), presiding judge: +86-668-5526017, +86-668-5128328, +86-13592958900Chen Xiaofeng(陈晓峰), prosecutor in Dr. Wu's case: +86-668-5522811Zhu Guanheng (朱冠恒), head of the Procuratorate: +86-13927559966Lu Shanghui (陆尚辉), head of Domestic Security Division: +86-13902511787
Related Article in Chinese:http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2016/4/17/广东茂名吴志岐被非法庭审-中共阻截法轮功学员旁听-326751.html