Two Hubei Residents Appealing Their Prison Sentences
(Minghui.org) Two Jingmen City, Hubei Province residents were sentenced to prison for their efforts to expose the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. They are both appealing their cases.
Mr. Peng Yaxin, around 40, and Ms. Zhang Guangjie, around 50, had been tracked by police for months before they were pulled over on March 13, 2016. Two other local Falun Gong practitioners riding in the same car were also seized.
The four practitioners were tried on September 23, 2016, on charges of “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese regime to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. Their lawyers entered not-guilty pleas for them and demanded their acquittal.
Judge Cao Sichong admitted to the lawyers that there was no legal basis on which to charge the practitioners for their faith, but he convicted Mr. Peng and Ms. Zhang more than a year later, around November 2017.
Ms. Zhang was sentenced to 3 years in prison and Mr. Peng 2 years. Each of them was also fined 5,000 yuan. Their appeals now rest with Jingmen Intermediate Court, with Judge Shui Shuang assigned to both cases.
Ms. Zhang’s mother visited Judge Shui on the morning of December 11, 2017. Shui said there was no way he would reduce Ms. Zhang’s sentence.
Ms. Zhang’s lawyer met with Shui in the afternoon. Shui denied he ever told Ms. Zhang’s mother that he was to uphold the original sentence. He also did not answer when the lawyer questioned the legal basis for sentencing his client, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong or labels it a “cult.”
Mr. Peng is in poor health, but Judge Shui denied his medical parole request. Shui also told Mr. Peng’s lawyer that he didn’t plan to hold an open hearing in the appeals case.