(Minghui.org) Five Falun Gong practitioners were illegally tried in the Mishan City Court at 10 a.m. on May 23, 2017. They were Ms. Wang Yufeng, Ms. Yu Xiuxiang, Ms. Guo Xiuhua, Ms. Yang Shuxian, and Ms. Shang Yanhua

Prosecutor's Evidence Invalidated

The practitioners' attorneys pleaded not guilty on behalf of the practitioners and defended them based on existing Chinese law, although judge Zhang Ying tried to prevent them from defending their clients. The court also violated the practitioners’ and their family members' legal rights before and during the trial.

The attorneys submitted legal requests that the prosecution witness be called upon to testify. They also proffered the “application for exclusion of illegal evidence” and “application for presenting evidence by the prosecutors” the day before the trial.

The attorneys pointed out that the prosecutor's witness did not appear to testify, that the evidence was not presented during the trial, that the videos of obtaining the evidence were not played, and that the photos did not have a clear date and time.

Violation of Legal Rights

Relatives and friends of the defendants asked judge Zhang Ying on May 19 for the court date. They also asked whether the court had informed the practitioners' immediate families. Judge Zhang claimed that there was no need to inform the family members.

When relatives and friends notified the practitioners' family members of the trial date, the families said they had not been notified by the court.

The attorneys asked judge Zhang if the defendents' family members could sit in the courtroom during the trial. They were told that they could, as long as they had their identification cards. On the day of the trial, however, domestic security team leader Yu Haiying and court officers allowed only up to three family members of each practitioner to enter the courtroom.

The police also set up an additional security checkpoint and a plainclothes domestic security officer appeared to video-record everyone attending the trial. Yu Haiying refused to let a practitioner's sister enter the courtroom even though she showed her ID.

According to Chinese law, a defendants' family members may also defend the defendants. However, two of the practitioners' family members who wanted to defend their relatives were denied that right. The judge told them that they needed an approval letter from the local justice bureau. The justice bureau said that they had to present a letter from the judge. When they returned to the courtroom, they were refused entry.

Demanding Admission of Guilt

The five practitioners were brought into the courtroom in handcuffs, which were not removed until the start of the trial.

The practitioners stated that they did not hand out any Falun Gong-related materials as the prosecutor claimed. They said they had visited some farmers with New Year’s gifts. During the arrest, the police put Falun Gong brochures on the ground and claimed the practitioners had been distributing them.

During their interrogations, the police declared that the practitioners would be released if they acknowledged that they gave Falun Gong materials to the farmers. If they insisted on saying that they had given them regular gifts, they would be sentenced.

Courthouse officials forced out relatives and friends waiting in the lobby of the courthouse around noon. A plainclothes officer recording all the relatives and friends left when questioned about what he was doing.

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