(Minghui.org) Four Falun Gong practitioners, Zhao Yiyun, Yang Miao, Ma Zhanguo, and Zhao Xiaolu, from Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, and practitioner Wu Xiaojiao from Xinzhou City, Shanxi Province, were held in the Xinzhou City Detention Center since their arrests on October 5, 2016. They were tried on April 11, 2017 by the Xinzhou Court. Their lawyers and family members presented powerful arguments demonstrating their innocence.
Lawyer Liu Rongsheng pointed out the court's violation of existing laws and regulations. Among other violations, court officials failed to notify the defendant three days prior to the trial, did not deliver the prosecution papers to the lawyer ten days prior, did not publicize the composition of the collegiate panel, and did not allow the lawyers to read the case files. The counsels' right to defend the practitioners was thus severely hampered.
The lawyers requested that the collegiate panel address their actions. But the trial continued with the original panel after they consulted with higher authorities.
The defense lawyers requested that witnesses take the stand due to their importance to the case. They asked that the people who reported the case to authorities provide the audio and video recordings cited as evidence. They demanded that the court play video from the monitoring camera taken on the night of the arrest. They also asked for the posters that the practitioners had posted.
The following statements were made and questions asked by the lawyers:
“Did the actions of the defendants cause any harm to the persons who reported the case? Did they cause any harm to any group or organization?”
Over more than a dozen years of the persecution of Falun Gong, practitioners had not committed a single crime.
“Does Falun Gong have any organization? Are the five defendants considered an organization? Have they done anything harmful to society? Have they done anything that would harm the current regime and the constitution? Are you anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) if you ask people to quit the Party?” – All the above questions were answered in the negative.
“People like Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang used their power to steal huge amounts of money from the country. That is undermining the implementation of the law. The five defendants had no power whatsoever. How could they undermine the implementation of the law?”
“The only way to proceed is to bring justice to Falun Gong. It's everyone's responsibility to protect and uphold the good.”
The families appealed to the court that it address the facts, and be responsible to the law, the people involved, and to themselves. They demanded that the court release the defendants immediately.
They talked about the change in practitioners after they cultivated in Falun Gong. They said being illegal detained for their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion- Forbearance had resulted in great pain and suffering for the families.
Practitioner Zhao Xiaolu from Zhangjiakou said that Falun Gong does not get involved in politics, and that it is legal in China.
Practitioner Yang Miao from Huian County said he went to the Procuratorate to ask the officials not to persecute practitioners. He asked that they release practitioners from Xinzhou. However, instead of addressing the issue, staff from the Procuratorate detained him.