Police Camera Recordings Expose Violations During Arrests of Falun Gong Practitioners in Liaoning
(Minghui.org) A video recorded by a police camera exposed police violence and procedural violations during the arrests of four Falun Gong practitioners and a family member. The video, entered as evidence, was played during the court trial of practitioner Chen Zaihua on November 22, 2017, upon his lawyer's request.
In the video, two men in plain clothes were standing outside Mr. Chen's apartment with toolboxes in hand to break open his door. They shouted, “Open the door! Open the door!” When no one did, they broke into the home.
A team of police officers entered the home. Mr. Chen's son confronted them and asked what they were doing. Li Lei, head of the Domestic Security Division, shouted, “Lock him up!” Four officers handcuffed Mr. Chen's son and locked him and his parents in a room.
Before the video ended, the presiding judge ordered to stop playing it.
Violation of Existing Laws Governing Arrest, Confiscation, and Other Issues
Mr. Chen's lawyer said that it was clear that the police had carried out unlawful arrests of his clients. None of the officers wore uniforms, nor did they show badges or a search warrant.
After a period of silence, the prosecutor argued that the police did not have to wear uniforms, despite the law stating that police officers have to wear uniforms and an identification badge when on duty.
Then, the lawyer pointed to several legal violations by police when they arrested the couple and their son. None of Mr. Chen's family members were present when the police ransacked the home. Additionally, the police did not provide useful information about the witness listed in the case document, who also failed to appear in court to testify during the trial. The judge claimed that the absence of the witness was due to health issues but failed to provide a note from his doctor.
Second, the police withheld many valuable items taken from Mr. Chen's home not related to Falun Gong. Under the law, these items must be returned to the owner within three days of confiscation. Even items related to Falun Gong are Mr. Chen's personal and legal belongings and cannot be used as evidence to charge him, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
In addition, under Chinese criminal law, the court should notify the defendant of the trial three days in advance, but neither Mr. Chen nor his lawyer received the notification within that time frame.
Further Illegalities Addressed
The prosecutor did not answer the lawyer's questions but argued that Mr. Chen had a criminal record–that he had been sentenced to a forced labor camp. The lawyer responded that the system of re-education through labor had been abolished several years ago for its illegality and that the sentence itself only demonstrated that the prosecution of Mr. Chen was unlawful; thus, it could not be used as a criminal record or to support the new charges.
During the one-hour trial, Mr. Chen also defended himself, arguing that he had the right to practice Falun Gong under freedom of belief in the Chinese Constitution. He testified that practicing Falun Gong made him more considerate of others and improved his relationship with his family. Then, the judge stopped him from talking about Falun Gong.
Arrest and Detention
Mr. Chen, his wife Ms. Feng Shudong, and his son were arrested on June 20, 2017. Also arrested were two others practitioners, Mr. Guo Liguang and Ms. Chen Guowen, who happened to be visiting at the time. All of the practitioners' homes were ransacked.
The police took the five practitioners to the Nu'erhe Police Station at 2 a.m. and interrogated them until 4 p.m. on June 21.
When Mr. Chen's son argued with officers about the illegal arrests, the police cuffed him his hands behind his back for more 10 hours, causing arm injuries and chest pain.
Mr. Chen's son and Ms. Chen Guowen were released on the afternoon of June 21. Mr. Chen's wife and Mr. Guo Liguang were given 10 days of detention. Mr. Chen was transferred to the Jinzhou City Detention Center.
The Taihe District Procuratorate approved Mr. Chen's arrest and submitted his case to Taihe District Court in August of this year. He was charged with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the communist regime to imprison Falun Gong practitioners.
After five months of detention, Mr. Chen was tried on November 22. He had a black hood over his head and was in handcuffs and shackles.
Prosecutor Li Lihui told people trying to attend the trial, “It's fine for family members to attend, but if you are a practitioner, you are not welcome to the proceedings.”
Perpetrator’s contact information:
Zhang Decun (张德存), presiding judge, Taihe District Court: +86-18941601911, +86-13941687505, +86-416-2872811 (Office)Li Lihui (李立辉), judge: +86-18940673111, +86-416-2872856 (Office)Wang Xiaofang (王晓仿), prosecutor, Taihe District Procuratorate: +86-13941618138, +86-416-5081518 (Office)Li Lei (李蕾), head, Domestic Security Division+ 86-13940696877, +86-4165165688 (Office)