(Minghui.org) The Changchun City Intermediate Court held a hearing at 10:35 a.m. on November 9, 2017 to hear appeals of ten Dehui City residents sentenced to prison for their faith.

The defendants’ families weren’t notified of the hearing until after 3 p.m. the day before. Only one lawyer was able to make it to the courthouse, but he was turned away and denied the right to defend his client.

Judge He Fu announced to uphold the convictions of all ten defendants.

Sentenced for Resisting Persecution of Falun Gong

The ten defendants were sentenced to prison because they refused to stop telling people about the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The police had been monitoring the 10 Falun Gong practitioners for months before arresting them all within 12 hours between September 21 and 22, 2016. None of the practitioners were allowed to a hire lawyer to defend his or her constitutional right to freedom of belief. Court-appointed lawyers were instructed to enter guilty pleas on their behalf.

The practitioners first appeared in court on March 24, 2017. When the hearing resumed on July 18, judge Wang Rongfu found all of them guilty and handed down the following sentences.

Ms. Li Ruifeng: 7 yearsMr. Wang Chengshun: 5 yearsMr. Cui Tao: 4 yearsMs. Li Shaozhen and Ms. Hao Jie: 3.5 years eachMs. Yang Jinyu, Ms. Ma Baofang, and Ms. Zhang Fengqiu: 3 years eachMs. Hu Bo: 2 yearsMs. Yang Jinfeng (sister of Ms. Yang Jinyu): 1 year

Ms. Yang Jinfeng was also fined 5,000 yuan, and the others, 10,000 yuan each.

Lawyers Denied Right to Represent Clients

All ten practitioners filed appeals following their sentencing. Judges Shi Quan and He Fu of the Changhun City Intermediate Court were assigned to the case, with clerks Wang Mingyuan and Zhao Yue assisting them.

Mr. Cui Tao hired Mr. Li Jinglin, a lawyer from Beijing, to appeal his case. Mr. Li traveled to Changchun on August 21, but both Shi and He refused to accept his application to represent Mr. Cui.

Mr. Li filed a complaint against the two judges, while Mr. Cui added his son, Mr. Cui Zhanlei, as another defender. The judges, however, refused to meet with the younger Mr. Cui until September 15. Though they eventually talked to him, they refused to grant his request to testify in his father’s defense. He proceeded to file complaints against the two judges to Changchun City Intermediate Court, Changchun City Procuratorate, Jilin Province Superior Court, and Jilin Province Procuratorate.

Ms. Hao Jie hired Mr. Liu Guang’an, a lawyer in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, to represent her. Mr. Liu traveled to Changchun Fourth Detention Center on September 25 to discuss the case with his client. He visited the appeals court the next day, but judge Shi Quan directed his staff to turn down Mr. Liu’s application to represent Ms. Hao. Mr. Liu then filed complaints against judge Shi.

Short Notice of Appeals Hearing

Judge Shi wasn’t present at the appeals hearing on November 9. Judge He and his clerks Wang Mingyuan and Zhao Yue signed the verdicts at the end of the session.

As the defendants’ families didn’t receive notice of the hearing until the day before, the out-of-town lawyers were unable to make it to the court session, and this included Mr. Li Jinglin, who represented Mr. Cui Tao and was taking care of another case in a southern city thousands of miles away. Mr. Liu Guang’an, who represented Ms. Hao Jie, rushed to the courthouse, only to be turned away by judge He.

The mother of Ms. Yang Jinfeng and Ms. Yang Jinyu asked to testify in her daughters’ defense. Judge He agreed, but threatened to jail her as well when she questioned him on why he upheld the convictions without any legal basis.

There were five family members present, but only Mr. Cui Tao’s son was given a copy of the verdict.

Fight to Seek Justice Continues

The practitioners’ families and lawyers vowed to continue fighting for their constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. They have written or are in the process of writing letters to the following government agencies and individuals, urging them to help seek justice for the wrongfully convicted Falun Gong practitioners.

Changchun City Discipline Committee Director Wang Changjiu

Changchun City People’s Congress Appeals Office

Changchun City People’s Procuratorate

Anti-dereliction Committee

Changchun City Intermediate CourtCourt president Zhang DeyouVice court president Xiao DekuiJudges Shi Quan and He FuStaff members: Yu Deqiang, Pan Shujing, Sha Mingxin, Cao Haibo, Sun Yang, Liu Yanji, Xie Li, Li Fang, and Bi Xuezhu

Jilin Province People’s ProcuratorateChief prosecutor Yang KeqinDeputy chief prosecutor Chen FengchaoAnti-corruption head Yu ChunjiangDiscipline committee chair Tang WeibingCivil prosecution section chief Li Zhenhua

Jilin Province Superior CourtCourt president Kou FangDeputy court president Li ChenglinDiscipline committee chair Geng XingheSentencing committee members Zhang Shusen and Sun YifeiJudges Bo Haiyan, Shen Zhezhu, Bai Jincheng, Fu Li, Li Liyan, Li Xiangfu, Li Zhongyi, Jing Xiaoqing, Li Desheng, Liang Tianlan, Huo Dengke, Tian Feng, Zheng Fengchun, and Niu Feng

Related Report:Dehui, Jilin Province: 10 Sentenced to Prison for Resisting the Persecution of Falun Gong

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