(Minghui.org) Two women in Linzhou City were sentenced to prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Li Jieqing and Ms. Li Huansu (no relation) were arrested on March 28, 2017 and sent to the Linzhou Detention Center, where they were held for 17 days before being moved to the Anyang Detention Center.

Ms. Li Jieqing’s sister hired a lawyer to defend her constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. The lawyer visited the Linzhou Police Department twice, in June and August, but the police chief and other officers involved in the case all refused to meet with him.

The lawyer then filed a complaint against Yang Yiguo, the officer who used an alias to interrogate Ms. Li Jieqing at the Anyang Detention Center and who tried to threaten her to drop her lawyer.

The two Falun Gong practitioners were tried on September 4. As the authorities never accepted Ms. Li Jieqing’s lawyer’s legal right to represent his client, he wasn’t allowed to represent Ms. Li in court. Instead, two court-appointed lawyers entered guilty pleas for the two practitioners.

Ms. Li Jieqing and Ms. Li Huansu were each sentenced to three years in prison and transferred to Xinxiang Women’s Prison on November 23. Their families weren’t informed of the conviction or the prison transfer. They only found out about the verdict later from people with inside information.