Harbin Woman Sentenced to Prison, Almost Misses Deadline to File Appeal
(Minghui.org) A Harbin woman sentenced for her faith almost missed the deadline to file an appeal, due to the presiding judge’s delay in delivering the verdict to her lawyer.
Ms. Xue Li, 49, was arrested on April 18, 2017 while distributing information exposing the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Police proceeded to ransack her home and confiscated her cell phone and more than 10,000 yuan in cash.
Ms. Xue appeared in court on September 6, and her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. She also tried to testify in her own defense, but judge Song Xuemei stopped her when she said the words “Falun Gong.”
A guilty verdict was delivered to Ms. Xue on October 9, but the judge neglected to send a copy to the lawyer concurrently as required by law. The lawyer called Song on October 12 to inquire about the case status, and learned that a verdict had been issued. Song, however, refused to reveal whether the verdict was an acquittal or a conviction and when the verdict was issued. The lawyer tried to call Song again a few hours later, but no one answered the phone.
By law, the convicted has ten calendar days (including weekends) after the verdict is issued to file an appeal. Ms. Xue’s lawyer was really worried that they might have missed the deadline. He eventually received a copy of the verdict on October 15, the seventh day after the verdict issuance. He met with Ms. Xue at the local detention center the next day and secured her signature on the appeal, which now rests with Dawai Court.
Related Report:Ms. Xue Li Tried in Harbin Court