(Minghui.org) The Jingtai County Court has been using the same excuse to stop lawyers from representing locals tried for resisting the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Mr. Yu Youzhen, 59, is the latest victim.

Mr. Yu’s lawyer from Beijing visited presiding judge Zhu Shengkai the day before the scheduled court date on July 5. He was surprised when Zhu demanded to see approval from both the Gansu Province Judicial Bureau and the Beijing Judicial Bureau for him to represent Mr. Yu.

The lawyer pointed out that judges in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu, have never demanded such approval when he represented Falun Gong practitioners there. Moreover, he had already filed all the required paperwork to establish formal legal representation of his client.

Zhu went to check with the court president, who insisted on seeing such approval.

According to other Falun Gong practitioners tried by Zhu, he and other court officials have been citing a decade-old rule issued by the Gansu Province Judicial Bureau as the basis for requiring such approval.

The Bureau, when approached by practitioners who were denied legal representation, clarified that the rule was only meant to encourage law firms to file records of sensitive cases with them, and that there is no process to formally issue an approval.

Mr. Yu was eventually tried without his lawyer in the courtroom. The details of the hearing remain to be investigated. It is unclear if Mr. Yu is still on bail or has been taken back into custody.

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