Woman Sentenced to Prison for Her Faith, Husband Detained for Seeking Justice for Her
(Minghui.org) A woman in Zhangdian District, Zibo City was arrested on May 12, 2017 and sentenced to three years in prison on August 30 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
Ms. Xu Qiulan’s husband filed complaints against the local police, the procuratorate, and the judge for arresting, indicting, and sentencing his wife without any legal basis. He was arrested on September 28, and his wife’s appeal was turned down one month later.
Lawyer Fights to Represent Ms. Xu, Her Husband Files Complaints
Ms. Xu’s husband, Mr. Zhang Wenlong, hired a Beijing lawyer, Mr. Guo Haiyue, to defend his wife’s constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
Mr. Guo visited Zhangdian District Court on July 14, but judge Qi Yan declined to accept his application to represent Ms. Xu in the case. Qi demanded to see an approval from Mr. Guo’s local judicial bureau in Beijing. Mr. Guo pointed out that no law requires the judicial bureau's approval for defense lawyers to represent Falun Gong practitioners. Qi refused to listen.
Mr. Guo filed a complaint with Zhangdian District Procuratorate, but was ordered to comply with Qi’s demand. He then filed another complaint with the appeals office of Zhangdian District Court.
Mr. Zhang followed up on July 18 by visiting Zhangdian District Supervision Committee and Zibo City Supervision Committee to file his own complaints, but the two agencies referred him back to Zhangdian District Court.
Mr. Guo received a phone call from a staff member of the Zhangdian District Court that night, asking him to email his application to represent Ms. Xu to the court.
Mr. Zhang mailed his complaints against judge Qi on July 20 to Zibo City Procuratorate, Zibo City Court, Shandong Province Procuratorate, and Shandong Province Superior Court.
Mr. Guo received a call on August 10, notifying him that Ms. Xu’s court date was set for August 17. He had a scheduling conflict, so Qi rescheduled the hearing for August 22.
Ms. Xu was sentenced to three years in prison one week after her court appearance. Zibo City Court ruled to uphold the verdict in late October.
Mr. Zhang filed another round of complaints on September 4, this time with additional defendants, including Xue Ming (head of local domestic security office), Sun Yanbing (prosecutor on the case), and Wang Delu (Zhangdian District Court). The complaints were again filed with Zibo City Procuratorate, Zibo City Court, Shandong Province Procuratorate, and Shandong Province Superior Court.
Mr. Zhang was arrested on September 28. Though police promised to release him after 37 days, they forwarded his case to Zhangdian District Procuratorate on November 2. While he faces indictment, his wife is awaiting a transfer to the local prison.