Lawyer Demands Acquittal during Second Hearing in Trial of Falun Gong Practitioner
(Minghui.org) The second hearing in the trial of a Xinbin County resident was held on December 12, 2017, after it was postponed for three weeks due to the prosecutor’s sudden illness.
Ms. Liu Jing (also known as Liu Zhengrong) was arrested in September 2016 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. The local procuratorate twice returned the case to the police for lack of evidence, but the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, a non-judiciary agency tasked with eradicating Falun Gong and given power to override the judiciary system, ordered prosecutor Zhang Xinxin to file an indictment against Ms. Liu.
Ms. Liu faced trial for the first time on August 2, 2017 at a makeshift courtroom in the Nangou Detention Center. Her lawyer pleaded not guilty on her behalf, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
A second hearing was scheduled for November 23, but it had to be delayed when prosecutor Zhang suddenly fell ill.
When the hearing finally resumed on December 12, the presiding judge asked if Ms. Liu and her lawyer had any recusal request. They requested that the judge and prosecutor be recused from the case, as they were deemed unfit to try someone for her spiritual faith (both judge and prosecutor are atheist). The judge sought guidance from the court president, who declined the recusal request and ordered the hearing to continue.
The lawyer testified against the group of agents who illegally ransacked Ms. Liu’s home on the day of her arrest. The agents included officers from the local Domestic Security Office, the Criminal Investigation Team, and the Yongling Police Station. The lawyer argued that the Domestic Security Office had no legal authority to search private citizens’ homes. He also pointed out that the person who signed the search record was not present during the home search and that Ms. Liu was not allowed to be present during the home search nor was she asked to sign the search record as required by law.
Prosecutor Zhang alleged that the items confiscated from Ms. Liu’s home, including 650 copies of table calendars bearing Falun Gong messages, 27 copies of Minghui Weekly (a magazine on Falun Gong), and 70 copies of Falun Gong books and Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, were sufficient evidence of “illegal activity.”
The lawyer argued that the calendars were his client’s lawful possessions and the messages printed on the calendars were actual facts about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. By law, his client also had every right to own Falun Gong books. With regard to the book, Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, it is an assessment of the Chinese Communist Party and no one should be prosecuted for owning it.
The lawyer concluded that none of the confiscated items broke any law or caused any harm to anyone or society at large. He demanded his client’s acquittal.
Ms. Liu remains detained after the second hearing.