Heilongjiang Woman Convicted for Her Faith after Unfair Trial
(Minghui.org) A Jiamusi City court sentenced a local woman to three years in prison for filing a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for ordering the persecution of Falun Gong.
The verdict that found Ms. Wang Shuying guilty was reached after a trial in which one of her lawyers was removed from the courtroom and the other quit in protest of the judge’s violation of legal procedures.
Ms. Wang’s family was instructed to talk to the local higher court when they inquired about her case. The higher court, however, said that they hadn’t received the case file from the lower court.
The defense lawyers have submitted complaints on behalf of Ms. Wang against the local police, the Procuratorate, and the courts for violating legal procedures and failing to give her a fair trial.
Latest Hearing Saw Both Lawyers Leave Midway Through Trial
Ms. Wang was arrested at her apartment on April 8, 2016. Two officers climbed up to her balcony and knocked on the window, while two other officers went to the front entry and knocked on the door. They broke into her home and arrested Ms. Wang. Her computer, printer, and Falun Gong books and materials were confiscated.
Ms. Wang was placed under “criminal detention” on April 24, 2016, and indicted on December 13, 2016. The first two scheduled hearings never took place due to the court’s violation of legal procedures. The third hearing concluded in 30 minutes after the lawyers requested that the judge and the prosecutor be recused for their violation of legal procedures.
During her fourth scheduled hearing on March 7, 2017, one of Ms. Wang’s lawyers was taken out of the courtroom by the bailiffs after insisting that the judge violated the law in his handling of the trial procedures.
When her other lawyer continued to argue with the judge about those violations, the judge threatened to throw him out of the courtroom as well. With the conversation heating up and the bailiffs standing next to him, ready to take him out, the lawyer left the courtroom.
The judge continued the trial without her lawyers. Ms. Wang protested the lack of justice. “My lawyers aren't here. You are not being fair or open with the trial. My legal rights aren't protected. I can't acknowledge the trial,” she said.
After her lawyers were forced to leave, the judge didn't give Ms. Wang any opportunity to defend herself and ignored her when she said that it was her constitutional right to sue Jiang and that she didn't violate any law.
The judge refused to let the court clerk record what Ms. Wang said in the proceedings. And when he asked Ms. Wang questions, he would instruct the clerk to record that she “refused to answer” before she had a chance to think about how to answer him.
After the trial, the judge suspended the lawyers’ qualifications, saying that they didn’t obey the court's code of conduct. Ms. Wang was told to hire new lawyers.
Family Given the Runaround
Ms. Wang's parents found presiding judge Song Tao on March 14 and asked him about her case. Song told them that it was closed as far as his court was concerned and that it had been forwarded to the higher court.
Ms. Wang's parents then went to the procuratorate and inquired about her case. The prosecutor also told them that the case had been sent to the higher court and that the court panel had decided to sentence Ms. Wang to three years in prison. They directed Ms. Wang's parents to the higher court for any questions.
However, when Ms. Wang's family went to the higher court, they were told by the staff there that they didn't have the case in their system and that it was still at the lower court.
The Previous Three Hearings
So far, all of the four hearings were held in a detention center in a suburb where public transportation is very limited. Ms. Wang's family suspects that the court was trying to prevent the public from attending the hearings.
The court first informed Ms. Wang's lawyers to come to the detention center on January 16, 2017, to attend the hearing. The two lawyers traveled all the way to the detention center, only to be refused entry by the security guard because the court never informed the detention center of its intent to hold the hearing there.
After the lawyers and Ms. Wang's family waited for a long time outside the detention center, the judge informed them that the trial was canceled.
When the lawyers visited Ms. Wang later on, they found that the court had also failed to inform her of the trial.
The lawyers phoned judge Ji Zhong and demanded that he compensate them for their travel expenses for the trial. Ji refused to respond and hung up on them.
The second hearing was scheduled about a week later, on January 23, 2017. However, both of Ms. Wang's lawyers were already scheduled to attend other trials and they asked the court to postpone the hearing for a few days. The judge refused and still went to the detention center for the hearing, despite knowledge of the lawyers' absence. Ms. Wang strongly protested and the hearing was eventually canceled again.
During the third hearing on February 14, 2017, Ms. Wang's lawyers pleaded her innocence. Both of them argued that the court violated legal procedures in dealing with her case, and there were discrepancies in the case information, such as the timing of her arrest, on the indictment and case documents. As such, they argued that the court officials and prosecutors were not qualified to process Ms. Wang's case, and they asked to have them step away from the case.
The presiding judge replied that he had to ask for instructions from his supervisor. He adjourned the hearing within 30 minutes.