(Minghui.org) A few days before a trial, the presiding judge phoned the lawyer who was representing Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Song Guixiang, and tried to stop him from entering a not-guilty plea for his client, or arguing how the persecution of Falun Gong has no legal basis.

Judge Ma Shuhe threatened the lawyer, saying that he would increase Ms. Song's sentence and terminate the lawyer's defense if the lawyer did not follow his order.

Ms. Song Guixiang

Ms. Song Guixiang was tried by the Yuanbao District Court on July 7, 2016. The lawyer did not comply with the judge’s demands, and defended Ms. Song's innocence.

The lawyer argued that the charges against Ms. Song were invalid. She had been illegally arrested, and charged for practicing Falun Gong and telling people about it. He said there was no evidence of any harm caused to others or society, and it was not clear what crimes she committed. On the other hand, freedom of belief is everyone's constitutional right and should be protected.

During the cross-examination of evidence, the prosecutor said that Ms. Song had been reported to the neighborhood community for telling people that “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.” Neighborhood community staff member Wang Tianjiao subsequently followed her and reported her to the police.

The lawyer asked the court, “How could saying that sentence be considered a crime?” He also pointed out that Wang Tianjiao failed to appear at the trial to verify his statement, thus making him invalid as a witness.

Ms. Song also defended herself and persuaded the court officials and prosecutors to follow their conscience and not participate in the persecution.

The judge remained silent during the defense.

Judge Attempts to Block Family from Attending the Trial

Prior to the trial, judge Ma also called Ms. Song's husband and told him that he was the only one allowed to attend the trial, and that no other family members were allowed to be there.

Ms. Song's 87-year-old father did not listen to the judge and attended the trial with his son-in-law on July 7. The rest of the court gallery was filled with more than 20 plainclothes police and government officials.

Shortly after the trial began, half the officials in the court gallery began to leave. About a dozen people remained for the rest of the trial.

87-year-old Father Seeks Justice for Daughter

Ms. Song was arrested on April 11, 2016 and has since been detained at No. 1 Detention Center in Dandong City.

Prior to her latest arrest, Ms. Song was twice given forced labor, and was sentenced to five years in prison for practicing Falun Gong. She was brutally tortured during each of her detentions, including force-feedings and beatings, and having her legs tied up with ropes. She was on the brink of death several times due to the torture.

Fearing that she may be tortured again during detention, her 87-year-old father repeatedly went to the police station and the Procuratorate to demand her release. The officials who received him refused to release Ms. Song and insisted on proceeding with the case.

Ms. Song's father filed a complaint against the police and the prosecutor for illegally arresting her and pressing the charges against her.

Related report:Previous Torture Victim in Liaoning Arrested Again for Her Belief in Falun Gong