(Minghui.org) Ms. Zhang Lixue and Ms. Gan Xuemei, both Falun Gong practitioners, were tried on April 5, 2017. Pressured by the 610 Office, the Dujiangyan City Court sentenced Ms. Zhang to 15 months and Ms. Gan to 17 months in prison. They were also each fined 2,000 yuan.

Both women were arrested by officers from the Xiang’e County Police Station on March 3, 2016 for distributing Falun Gong informational materials. They were held in the Pi County Detention Center for a total of 13 months prior to the trial.

Ms. Zhang was abused mentally and physically while in detention, and exhibits mental problems. Her persecution case has drawn attention from U.S. Congress members and was mentioned in a letter drafted by Member of Congress Dave Reichert and co-signed by five other members of congress. The letter was sent to the office of Xi Jinping, head of Chinese Communist Party, in June 2016.

During the trial, Ms. Gan’s attorney pleaded not guilty on her behalf. He argued that no Chinese law exists that stipulates that Falun Gong is a cult, that Ms. Gan committed no crime and should be released immediately. The prosecutor did not make any rebuttal comments.

On the day of trial, the women's families and friends arrived at the court on time, only to be blocked and made to stand outside the courtroom. When the door was finally opened, the audience section was already filled with officials from various townships who had been summoned by the 610 Office agents. The police claimed that no space was available, and only allowed the immediate family members of the practitioners to be present during the trial.

Both overseas and mainland practitioners talked to the authorities about the persecution of Falun Gong and tried to get the two practitioners released.

Ms. Zhang was held in the Nanmusi Women's Forced Labor Camp for eight months in 2000. She was tortured, including being forbidden to go to the restroom and tied to the torture instrument tiger bench.