(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhao Liya from Ye County was tried on July 28 for “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime to sentence Falun Gong practitioners in its persecution of the spiritual discipline.

Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her–a first in local Falun Gong cases and argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.

The presiding judge was visibly taken aback and said to the prosecutor, “Go back and double check if that is true.”

Both Ms. Zhao and her husband Mr. Sun Yaomin had been repeatedly targeted for their faith since the persecution began in 1999. Mr. Sun was twice imprisoned and died on January 7, 2014, after succumbing to injuries sustained in prison. Ms. Zhao had also been sentenced to prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.

She filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Falun Gong that resulted in her family’s ordeal, only to be arrested again last December.

The prosecutor used Ms. Zhao’s criminal complaint as evidence against her. Her lawyer argued that she has the right to seek justice against Jiang for infringing upon her freedom of belief.

The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.