Woman Paralyzed in Detention, Sentenced to Prison for Her Faith
(Minghui.org) A 60-year-old woman detained for her faith became paralyzed after being shackled every day for more than a month.
Ms. Li Haiyan had to crawl to a meeting room to see her lawyer. She was recently wheeled into the courtroom to face charges that she “used a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. A guilty verdict against her was delivered three days after the hearing.
Ms. Li, a resident of Kunming City, was seized in her hometown of Tonghai County on June 16, 2017, after being reported for distributing materials exposing the persecution of Falun Gong.
The guards at Hongtaqu Detention Center kept Ms. Li handcuffed and shackled for more than one month. She couldn’t stand, much less walk, on her own. Her lawyer tried many times to visit her but was turned away. The detention center admitted later that they didn’t want the lawyer to learn about Ms. Li’s disability. The lawyer filed a complaint against the detention center and was eventually allowed to see his client. He observed that Ms. Li crawled into the meeting room and that no one was there to assist her.
Ms. Li appeared in court on November 3. She remained in her wheelchair and testified in her own defense. She shared how she began to practice Falun Gong only two years ago after medical treatments failed to cure her eye problem and other ailments. Her symptoms soon went away and she reentered the workforce.
Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf, citing the fact that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. He also argued that his client’s distribution of Falun Gong materials caused no harm to anyone, let alone undermined law enforcement.
The lawyer also testified against the detention center guards for disabling his client’s legs. He requested her immediate release.
The presiding judge sentenced Ms. Li to one year in prison on November 6. She is now appealing the verdict.