(Minghui.org) The mother of a Washington D.C. resident was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan because she is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime, and possessed Falun Gong books and materials.

Ms. Yuan Xiaoman, a resident of Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was arrested on May 12, 2016, and tried on November 16, two days after her son called for her unconditional release in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. The judge announced the guilty verdict against her on December 23. She is now appealing her case.

Groundless Charges

Ms. Yuan was charged with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime in its attempts to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.

The prosecutor’s recommendation of a prison sentence was based on Article 300 of the Criminal Law (“the Article”), and the judicial interpretation of the Article by the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

The prosecutor asserted that based on the Article and the judicial interpretation, those who distribute materials about cults are subject to jail sentences.

Ms. Yuan’s lawyer argued that the two documents never explicitly mentioned Falun Gong. More importantly, the People’s Congress, China’s sole law-making body, has never enacted any law banning the practice of Falun Gong or labeling it a cult. As such, the charges against Ms. Yuan lacked legal basis.

Questionable Evidence

The prosecution evidence consisted of items confiscated from Ms. Yuan’s home, including 42 Falun Gong books, 39 copies of software designed to break through the Internet blockade, and two cell phones with auto-dial functions to spread pre-recorded messages exposing the persecution of Falun Gong.

The lawyers argued that the confiscated items were Ms. Yuan’s lawful possessions and posed no harm to anyone, or society at large, let alone undermined law enforcement.

The lawyer also pointed out a suspicious piece of evidence included in the indictment. The prosecutor listed an eyewitness who testified against someone other than Ms. Yuan, but the interrogating officer crossed out that defendant's name and replaced it with Ms. Yuan’s. In addition, there was no fingerprint of the said eyewitness as required by law.

The indictment stated, “At 3:00 p.m. on May 12, 2016, the police discovered Yuan Xiaoman was dialing a lot of phone numbers to spread information about Falun Gong.” Thus, Ms. Yuan’s phones must have been tapped. However, the indictment failed to include any phone records to support the allegation. Ms. Yuan testified that she was not making any phone calls when the police descended on her home to arrest her.

The indictment also asserted, “The police returned one black phone to Yuan’s husband, Du Hua, who signed the necessary paperwork.” Mr. Du, however, never received the phone nor signed any paperwork.

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