Henan Woman Sentenced to Prison Again After Retrial
(Minghui.org) An elderly woman in Zhumadian City was sentenced to prison again after the local appeals court overturned her initial conviction and ordered a retrial.
Ms. Zhai Xinhua, in her 70s, was arrested on February 8, 2016 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. She appeared in court on December 8 and was sentenced to three years in prison by the local Yicheng District Court.
Ms. Zhai filed an appeal and Zhumadian City Intermediate Court ruled on March 31, 2017 to overturn the conviction and ordered a retrial.
The retrial was twice delayed, after two court dates, June 27 and July 20, were cancelled at the last minute. The Yicheng District Court eventually held a hearing on August 9, and Ms. Zhai’s new lawyer defended her constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
A number of Falun Gong practitioners who had come from other regions gathered outside the courthouse to show their support, but they were all barred from going inside by Yu Xinzhan, head of the local Domestic Security Office.
It was learned recently that Ms. Zhai was convicted again, with a reduced sentence of two years.