(Minghui.org) A Wuhan City resident was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison and fined 3,000 yuan for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Mr. Feng Jiwu, around 70, was arrested on September 27, 2016 and has since been denied family visits. His family wanted to hire a lawyer to defend his constitutional right to freedom of belief, but the Hanyang District Court officials lied to them that Mr. Feng didn’t want a lawyer involved in his case.

Mr. Feng testified in his own defense during the trial on March 29, 2017. His family wasn’t allowed to attend the hearing. According to insiders, he was tied up with a rope around his neck during the entire session.

The court arrived at a guilty verdict against Mr. Feng on April 17. In order to prevent his family from filing an appeal, the court waited until May 3, which is past the appeal deadline, to inform them of his verdict.

At the time of writing, Mr. Feng remains at Taojialing Detention Center.