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Harbin, Heilongjiang Province: 4 Falun Gong Practitioners Tried Without Legal Representation

August 28, 2016 |   By a Minghui correspondent in Heilongjiang Province

(Minghui.org) Four Harbin residents were tried on July 12, 2016 for distributing information about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that is being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

The trial went on without defense lawyers. Daoli Court waited until the day before the trial date to notify the practitioners’ families, giving them no time to hire legal counsel. By law, the court is required to send out trial notice days before the hearing.

Judge Zhang Jiaming adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.

610 Office Sets Court Date and Monitors Trial

Mr. Zhu Qiangong, 65, Mr. Liu Qingfu, 66, Ms. Liu Shuhua, in her 50s, and Mr. Gao Yulin, in his 60s, were arrested on September 21 of last year.

As in many other Falun Gong cases, the four practitioners’ court date was set by the local 610 Office, an extralegal agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given power to override judicial and law enforcement systems.

Mr. Gao had no family members in attendance, because his family never received the trial notice. The three other families were each allowed only two seats at the hearing.

In contrast, agents from the 610 Office and Domestic Security Division went in and out of the courtroom without any constraint.

Uniformed and plainclothes officers patrolled outside the courthouse, blocking the four practitioners’ supporters from attending the trial.

Families Heartbroken

All four practitioners were handcuffed and shackled as they were led into the courtroom. They all appeared gaunt and weak.

Mr. Gao’s four front teeth had been knocked out, and he walked with a limp.

Mr. Zhu had a very hoarse voice. His wife couldn’t help but cry loudly.

Mr. Liu’s wife also burst into tears after noticing that her hunchbacked husband seemed to have lost his memory.

Ms. Liu looked years older than she was before her arrest. One of her family members covered his face and wept.

The families were saddened to see the defendants taken back to detention after the hearing, fearing that they may suffer further abuse.