Falun Gong Practitioner, 75, Taken to Prison Despite Legal Appeal
(Minghui.org) Even though his lawyers filed an appeal to a higher court seeking justice on his behalf, Mr. Zhang Xinjian, a 75-year-old Falun Gong practitioner, was sentenced to five years, charged with “undermining law enforcement.” He was taken to Jiazhou Prison on July 8, 2016, without a hearing or any decision being announced.
Neither Mr. Zhang's two lawyers nor his family were informed of his transfer to prison.
Mr. Zhang was sentenced to five years in the Cuiping District Court during his second trial on March 22, 2016. His lawyer, Li Xiongbing, filed an appeal with the Yinbin City Intermediate Court on his behalf the day he was sentenced, arguing that there are no laws in China that say practicing Falun Gong is illegal. He said that his client was exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief, which does not “undermine law enforcement” – the boilerplate charge frequently leveled at Falun Gong practitioners..
Mr. Zhang’s family later hired Attorney Tang Tianhao to defend him. On April 19, Attorney Li and Mr. Zhang’s family went to the intermediate court and submitted the application to have Attorney Tang represent him at his appeal. Judge Huang Yun accepted the application in person.
On June 1 when Attorney Tang went to the intermediate court to review Mr. Zhang’s case documents, judge Huang Yun denied having taken Tang’s application to represent Mr. Zhang. Attorney Tang then had to submit another copy of the application. Judge Huang told him that he did not plan to hold an open trial for Mr. Zhang and said that he intended to uphold the original verdict.
The next day, Attorney Tang filed another appeal, this one citing the officials' involved in both of Mr. Zhang’s trials and his appeal. He stated that they failed to uphold the law and demanded justice for his client.
The court again ignored his appeal, and Mr. Zhang was directly taken to the prison in early July.
Before he was taken to prison, Mr. Zhang was detained in Dayi Detention Center in Yibin City for more than a year after his arrest, which occurred on April 16, 2015. During that time, he developed high blood pressure and his physical condition was worrisome.
Mr. Zhang’s first hearing was held in the Cuiping District Court in Yibin City on December 8, 2015, with Attorney Li defending him. The judge did not announce a verdict at that time.
Related article in Chinese:http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2016/7/14/二零一六年七月十四日大陆综合消息-327765.html#1671323323-12