Lawyers Overcome Difficulties to Meet with Their Falun Gong Practitioner Clients
(Minghui.org) When three lawyers went to meet with their clients on June 20, they were denied visits and instead instructed to obtain permission from the police first.
Qitaihe Detention Center demanded police permission because these lawyers were representing Falun Gong practitioners detained there for their spiritual faith based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The lawyers, Wen Donghai, Ma Lianshun, and Hu Linzheng, spent two days rushing around from the detention center to the police station and to other legal entities, to request the right to visit. They were finally allowed to see their clients on June 22.
The five practitioners, Ms. Zhao Chunyang, Ms. Zhang Lanjun, Ms. Wang Yuanju, Ms. Zhang Guirong, and Mr. Yu You, from Qitaihe, Heilongjiang Province, were arrested on May 8.
The police ransacked their homes and would not allow any family visits. Informed sources report that authorities planned to sentence the practitioners to prison.
Detention Head Verbally Abuses Lawyers; Armed Police Drive Them Out
The lawyers argued with the detention center officers that there was no legal basis to deny the attorney-client visits. After ten minutes when neither side would back down, the head of the detention center, Zhang Jianfeng, arrived and ordered the lawyers to leave. He said he didn't want them there.
Mr. Wen asked Zhang, “Is this your private property?”
Zhang said that it was and began to shove the lawyers and verbally abuse them.
Zhang ordered a team of armed police, each carrying a 6-foot pipe in his hand, to drive the lawyers out of the detention center. Three of the armed police stayed at the entrance to prevent the lawyers from entering.
The lawyers didn't leave immediately and insisted they be allowed to meet with their clients. Zhang continued to verbally abuse them.
The lawyers complained to the prosecutor at the detention center, Xing Yanjun. Xing first told the lawyers he was unable to help them. When the lawyers asked him to offer a written response to their complaint, he stopped talking to them and left.
After the lawyers left the detention center, they noticed that an undercover police car was following them. They separated and headed in different directions.
Complaints Filed at Police Station and Procuratorate
After the lawyers lost the vehicle that was following them, they met at the Qitaihe Police Station to file a complaint against the detention center for refusing to allow them to visit their clients.
The person who received them told them that no supervisors were present. He gave them two complaint hotline numbers—one was not in service and the other went unanswered.
The lawyers then went to the procuratorate and met with prosecutor Zhang. According to the lawyers, as soon as they mentioned the case was related to Falun Gong, Zhang didn't allow them to talk.
The lawyers argued with Zhang and he finally let them file a complaint, which recorded that the detention center would not allow the attorneys to meet with their clients and that the head verbally abused them and ordered armed police to drive them away.
Zhang said that Falun Gong-related cases were very sensitive. He further indicated that it was actually the Political and Legal Affairs Committee that forbid lawyers from meeting with their clients. Mr. Wen then filed another meeting request with the Political and Legal Affairs Committee.
The Fight Continues the Next Day
Two more lawyers, Li Ming and Liu Rongsheng, representing Ms. Zhang Guirong and Mr. Yu You, joined the aforementioned three lawyers on the morning of June 21. They went together to the detention center again to meet with their clients.
This time, the two officers who received them at the detention center changed their tone and said that they would arrange a meeting in 48 hours if the lawyers refrained from filing complaints against them before the 48 hours expired. A police officer videotaped their entire discussion.
Surprisingly, while Mr. Liu was still fighting for the right to meet with Mr. Yu, the detention center and police station secretly told Mr. Yu's family to take him home. Liu was not told his client had been released.
After the five lawyers left the detention center, they filed another complaint with the court, compiling all the violations of legal procedure they had encountered over the past two days.
Mr. Liu and Mr. Li had to leave around noon for other cases they represented. The three other lawyers returned to the detention center in the afternoon and continued to demand their right to meet with their practitioner clients.
When they returned for the third time, the officers who received promised to let the lawyers meet with their clients.
A few hours later, the lawyers received a call from the detention center that they could meet with the practitioners the next morning.
Lawyers and Clients Finally Meet
The three lawyers returned to the detention center on June 22. Several officers videotaped them as they walked into the detention center.
Instead of letting them meet with the three practitioners together, the detention center only allowed them to meet with their respective clients one by one. The meetings ended by noon.