Lawyer and Defendant Rebut Wrongful Conviction During Appeal
(Minghui.org) A 73-year old lady and her attorney made rebuttals at her appeal hearing against the previous court decision to put her in prison for four years, stating that there is no legal ground for the conviction.
Ms. Pan Changzhao, a retired teacher in Tongling City, Anhui Province, was arrested last year for submitting a lawsuit in August 2015 against former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, who launched the persecution of Falun Gong. She was tried on December 6 and then sentenced to four years in prison on January 27, 2016.
Ms. Pan filed an appeal with the Tongling Intermediate Court on February 6 for acquittal. The intermediate court held a hearing on her appeal on April 19.
At the hearing, Ms. Pan's attorney rebutted the legal basis of the conviction.
The attorney pointed out that there is no law in China that states practicing Falun Gong is illegal. There is no legal ground to punish her for taking up the practice. In the past 17 years, according to Ms. Pan's statement at the hearing, she “was put in a forced labor camp for a year, detained three times, and forced to participate in a 'legal study class' a dozen times.” Her home was ransacked six times and she was deprived of a salary for five months.
The attorney argued that it is legal for the defendant to keep information about Falun Gong at home. Books and printed magazines were for her to use to practice. They are her lawful possessions and caused no harm to others. The court cannot use it as a legal basis for conviction.
The attorney stated that charging her for suing Jiang Zemin is also groundless. As a Chinese citizen, it is her right to seek justice against Jiang for infringing upon her constitutional right of freedom of belief, in the form of a criminal complaint.
Ms. Pan had first-hand experience of the benefits of practicing Falun Gong: “In a short period, all my hard-to-cure diseases were gone.”
She stated further: “For these many years, I have never gone to a hospital for treatment and have saved quite a lot for the state in medical expenses. More so, through the practice of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, I became honest, forgiving, and kind.”
For these reasons, she decided to hold Jiang responsible for overriding the law to inflict harm upon Falun Gong practitioners.
The intermediate court did not render a verdict during the hearing.