(Minghui.org) A Falun Gong practitioner in Heyuan City was sentenced to prison for her faith, and the woman who rented her storefront space was listed as a prosecution witness without being notified.

Ms. Deng Shi’e was arrested on September 24, 2016 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. She was tried on January 20, 2017, with her lawyer and family barred from attending the hearing. The Dongyuan County Court soon sentenced Ms. Deng to two years and three months in prison. She appealed, and the Heyuan City Intermediate Court ruled on April 11 to overturn her verdict and ordered a retrial.

The Dongyuan County Court held two hearings in the retrial, on June 16 and July 7, respectively. Judge Li Yihua sentenced Ms. Deng to two years and three months, the same punishment he gave out during the initial trial. He further fined Ms. Deng 5,000 yuan.

Ms. Deng filed an appeal again and requested a public hearing. The Heyuan City Intermediate Court ruled weeks later to uphold the verdict of the retrial, without holding any additional hearings.

Ms. Deng’s lawyers noted that the appeals court’s verdict listed Ms. Liu Yingli as a prosecution witness. Ms. Liu, however, told the lawyers that she had no idea that her name was on the verdict. She recalled what happened, “A group of officers stopped by my shop one day and asked for my name. I refused to tell them, but they found out who I was from the local street committee. I was just renting Deng Shi’e’s retail space to run my business and I never knew she was a Falun Gong practitioner.”

Ms. Liu expressed her outrage at the local authorities’ blatant violation of law. She said, “I will never acknowledge that I agreed to be a witness against Ms. Deng!”

Ms. Deng’s family tried to visit her on November 6 but were turned away by guards at the Dongyuan County Detention Center, where she has been detained since her arrest.

Related Reports:

Lower Court Sentences Woman Again in Retrial, Higher Court Upholds Conviction Without Holding Hearing

Dongyuan County Court Attempts to Deceive Practitioner into Dismissing Defense Attorney

Lawyer and Family Barred from Attending Trial of Falun Gong Practitioner