(Minghui.org) Mr. Qiu Yuanjin, Ms. Ge Jianzhen, and Ms. Wu Xiaocui, Falun Gong practitioners from Jiaozhou City, Shandong Province, were followed by police and arrested on the night of August 27, 2016. Mr. Qiu was detained in the Ducun Detention Center in Jiaozhou City. Ms. Ge Jianzhen and Ms. Wu Xiaocui were detained in the Pudong Detention Center in Jimo City.

A petition demanding the practitioners' release was signed by over 1,800 people. Additionally, the practitioners' families hired a defense lawyer.

Mr. Qiu, Ms. Ge, and Ms. Wu were put on trial by the Jiaozhou City Court on April 11, 2017. Only two family members of each practitioner were allowed to attend the hearing, which violated legal procedure.

When the defense lawyer was told that he could not bring his laptop into the courtroom due to security, he protested that there was no such rule in any courtroom in China. Because he refused to give in, he was not allowed to enter the courtroom.

Around noon, presiding judge Lu Xiaoming told the families that he had canceled the court hearing, and that they had 15 days to find another lawyer.

“We already paid this lawyer,” said the families. “Why don't you allow him to do his job? It will be expensive to hire another lawyer.” The judge insisted that they hire another lawyer.

Unexpectedly, the judge phoned the families that afternoon and informed them that the hearing would be held at 3 p.m. that day. The defense lawyer called the judge and said that this was against court procedures. The judge hung up without responding.

The hearing started at 3 p.m. that afternoon. Several of the family members were unable to attend. The judge told the practitioners that they could speak on their own behalf. However, under existing Chinese laws and regulations, the accused must be allowed three days to prepare. If the accused defends himself without an attorney, the trial must be announced ahead of time.

Prosecutor Zhang Jina presented photos of Falun Gong posters as evidence of wrongdoing. Mr. Qiu said that he was innocent of any crime.

Ms. Ge Jianzhen refused to answer any questions during the cross examination. She insisted that her lawyer be present.

“Falun Gong practitioners are good people,” she said. “It's not a crime to practice Falun Gong. All practitioners should be released and the charges dropped!”

When prosecutor Zhang Jina displayed a document with Ms. Wu Xiaocui's signature, Ms. Wu said it was null and void because she signed it under duress. She had been deprived of sleep for two days and two nights and had not eaten.

The trial continued without a defense lawyer and with insufficient evidence. At the end of the trial, judge Lu Xiaoming did not announce a verdict, but said that the sentence would be announced soon.

Participant in the persecution of the three practitioners:Lu Xiaoming (鹿晓明), judge in charge of the case: 86-532-87291646 (o), 86-18562883816(c), 86-13335077788(c)Liu Shiming (刘世明), head, Jiaozhou Court: 86-532-87283711(o)Zhang Qingshan (张青山), deputy, Jiaozhou Court: 86-18562861168 (c), 86-532-87291618 (o)