Changchun Woman Tried Without Knowledge of Family or Lawyer, Sentenced to Prison for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A woman in Changchun was tried on November 8, 2017, without the knowledge of her family or lawyer. Judge Zhao Junfeng sentenced Ms. Pei Shumei to two years in prison and fined her 5,000 yuan at the end of the hearing.
Prior to the trial, Ms. Pei’s lawyer had been repeatedly denied access to her case file. The lawyer is in the process of filing complaints against both the local procuratorate and the court.
Ms. Pei was arrested on April 18, 2017, while talking to a man about the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong. The officers didn’t show their IDs or an arrest warrant.
Sun Runxian, head of the local Erdao District Domestic Security Office, led his officers to ransack Ms. Pei’s home later that day, without her being present. She wasn’t given a list of confiscated items as required by law.
Ms. Pei was given 15 days of administrative detention. The police confiscated her daughter’s phone on April 25 to collect information and then notified the younger woman five days later that they had switched Ms. Pei to criminal detention.
Ms. Pei’s family soon filed a complaint against officer Sun to the relevant government agencies. The local police chief reprimanded Sun shortly afterward. Sun, however, still forwarded the case to the local Erdao District Procuratorate in late May.
While Ms. Pei’s family worked hard to seek her release, she went on a hunger strike to protest her illegal detention.
Her lawyer was also determined to defend her constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. His requests to review her case file, however, were repeatedly denied by the procuratorate using various excuses.
When he first visited the procuratorate on July 18, he was told to wait until Fan Wenting, the assistant prosecutor assigned to the case, returned from vacation two weeks later.
The lawyer tried the very next day and emphasized that by law the prosecutor doesn’t have to be around for defense lawyers to see case files. His request to review the case file was still turned down. He went straight to Changchun City Procuratorate to file a complaint. The higher procuratorate called the lower procuratorate to investigate what happened. When the lawyer returned to the lower procuratorate, he was told that prosecutor Fan had asked him to wait for her phone call in one week.
The lawyer received no call on July 26, so he went to Erdao District Procuratorate again. This time, he was told that he must produce an approval from the local 610 Office, an extralegal agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given the power to override the judicial system.
Ms. Pei’s lawyer and family visited the 610 Office together and were referred to the local Discipline Committee, which then referred them back to the 610 Office.
Ms. Pei’s family soon learned from an insider that her case had been forwarded to Erdao District Court while the procuratorate used various excuses to stop her lawyer from reviewing the case file.
The lawyer visited the court on August 3, and judge Zhao Junfeng demanded to see his approval to represent Ms. Pei by the local judicial bureau. The lawyer declined, as it was his legal right to review case files as a defense attorney.
The lawyer tried again on August 23, but Zhao refused to meet with him this time. He still did not succeed when he went to the court a third time on October 24.
Judge Zhao proceeded to try Ms. Pei on November 8 without informing her family or lawyer.
Zhao Junfeng: +86-17643107033, +86-13596088838, +86-431-88559449