(Minghui.org) A Guangdong couple was sentenced after being tried on March 29 without their lawyers present. Mr. Liang Shunjing was sentenced to ten years and three months, and his wife Ms. Deng Xiufeng was given ten years. Each was also fined 20,000 yuan.

The couple were targeted by the authorities for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Both of them signed letters of appeal on May 27 when their lawyers visited them. Mr. Liang's lawyer submitted his appeal letter to the Meijiang District Court on May 30 to request a re-trial.

Lawyers Prevented from Entering Courtroom

When Liu Zhengqing and Fan Biaowen, the couple’s attorneys, arrived at the Meijiang District Courthouse on the morning of the trial day, March 29, they had to go through a security check. Their cellphones and bags were not allowed to be brought in.

Both lawyers protested and refused to cooperate, because the Supreme People's Court of China exempts defense lawyers from security checks. Nevertheless, they were prevented from entering the courtroom.

They trial began without the defense lawyers, even though the couple repeatedly asked that the proceedings be delayed to wait for them.

Heath Issues After Arrest

Mr. Liang, 55, and Ms. Deng are residents of Meizhou City, Guangdong Province. They were arrested close to their home when they drove back on the evening of December 10, 2015. The police ransacked their home and confiscated Falun Gong books and other materials, two computers, one printer, four cellphones, and other valuable items. Their car was also seized.

Ms. Deng had high blood pressure when she was examined and was released the next day on bail. Mr. Liang was taken to the Meijiang District Detention Center.

When Ms. Deng went to the Meizhou City Police Department to request the return of their bank cards, IDs, and other confiscated items on January 12, 2016, she was detained. The police forced her to have another physical exam at a different hospital to verify her condition. The results were the same, and she was released on bail.

She refused to sign her husband's arrest approval letter when the police came to their store on January 14, but she received it in the mail two days later.

His lawyer had planned to enter not a guilty plea on his behalf and request his release on bail. However, he was tried and sentenced before the lawyer even got a chance to file paperwork.

It was reported that the Meijiang District Detention Center refused to accept Ms. Deng after she was sentenced, due to her health. However, she was not released, and her current location is unknown.

Family Business Left to Daughter

The couple owned a home electronics store. Their business had been booming, and they’d just moved it to a new, larger location. The store is now struggling.

Their daughter, who is attending college out of town, now tends to the family business while still in school.

Related report in Chinese: 被非法判刑十年-广东梅州梁顺景、邓秀芬夫妇上诉