Ten Jilin Residents On Trial Denied Right to Hire Own Lawyers
(Minghui.org) Ten residents of Dehui City, Jilin Province were tried on March 24, 2017 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
None of them was allowed to hire lawyers to defend their constitutional right to freedom of belief. Court-appointed lawyers were instructed to enter guilty pleas for them.
Only two family members of each defendant were allowed inside the gallery. Judge Wang Xianfu presided over the trial, which ended without a verdict being reached.
The two male and eight female practitioners remain detained since their arrest in late September 2016, with the men held at the Dehui Detention Center and the women at the Changchun No. 4 Detention Center.
Police Monitoring Precedes Mass Arrest
The local police had been monitoring the ten practitioners for months before arresting them within a 12-hour period on September 21 and September 22, 2016.
Ms. Zhang Fengqiu, Ms. Yang Jinyu, and Ms. Ma Baolian were arrested while distributing Falun Gong materials at night on September 21. Several officers broke into Ms. Yang’s home soon afterwards, terrifying her parents, who live with her. The elderly couple called their younger daughter, Ms. Yang Jinfeng, who was arrested on her away to her sister’s home.
At 6 a.m. the next morning, Ms. Li Ruifeng was dragged out of her bed with only pajamas on. Ms. Li Shaozhen was also arrested at her home at around the same time.
Ms. Hu Bo had planned to visit her ill father at the local hospital that morning when she was seized outside her apartment building. Ms. Hao Jie was also snatched by police the moment she stepped out of her door.
Mr. Cui Tao was arrested moments after he dropped off his grandchild at school. Another male practitioner, whose name remains to be investigated, was taken into custody in the same morning.
An officer slapped Mr. Cui’s wife on the face when she went to the police station to inquire about her husband’s detention status. A few other officers forcibly pressed her fingerprints onto a statement saying she would never bother the police again with her husband’s case.
The Yang sisters’ parents were also mistreated by police when they sought the release of their two daughters. The elderly mother, 70, was arrested on February 22, 2017 and detained for 10 days.