Defense Lawyer Refutes Baseless Indictment, Falun Gong Practitioner-Client Released
(Minghui.org) A native of Huangshan City, Anhui Province was released on May 22, 2017, after his lawyer filed complaints against the prosecutor and the judge in charge of his case, and later successfully persuaded them to withdraw the indictment.
Mr. Shi Jun became a target after police in his hometown suspected that he had hung up some banners around town to promote Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. He was on the police’s radar because he once spent more than one year in a forced labor camp for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
In order to avoid arrest, Mr. Shi lived away from home, but was still tracked down and seized at his rental place in Hefei City on July 1, 2016. He remained at Huangshan City Detention Center before his release nearly 11 months later.
Indictment Cited Baseless Statutory Interpretation
The Huangshan District Procuratorate in Huangshan City filed an indictment against Mr. Shi on January 20, 2017, charging him with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement” – a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime in its attempt to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.
His lawyer, Mr. Tang Zhiwei, tried to review the case file but was turned away by the Huangshan District Court. The lawyer then mailed a written opinion to the court.
The lawyer requested that the charge against his client be dismissed, as it lacked legal justification. The indictment cited as legal basis the statutory interpretation of Article 300 of the Criminal Law (“Interpretation” hereinafter) issued by the People’s Supreme Court and the People’s Supreme Procuratorate back in November 1999, four months after the persecution of Falun Gong began.
The interpretation asked that anyone practicing or spreading Falun Gong be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible as the practice was a cult.
The lawyer argued that the People’s Congress, China’s law-making body, has never enacted any law banning Falun Gong or labeling it a cult. As such, the Supreme Court’s and the Supreme Procuratorate’s interpretation lacked legal basis when it targeted Falun Gong.
The lawyer argued that if the interpretation was invalid, the indictment based on it was also without merit. He demanded that the case against his client be dropped.
The court ignored the lawyer’s request.
Lawyer Files Complaints against Prosecutor and Judge
The procuratorate withdrew its initial indictment and filed a new one on April 6. The lawyer noted no substantial change to the charge against his client.
He was surprised that the procuratorate still tried to prosecute his client, even with a new statutory interpretation of the Criminal Law taking effect on February 1, 2017.
The new interpretation made no mention of Falun Gong and emphasized that any indictment against anyone engaging in a cult must be issued with a solid legal basis.
Mr. Shi’s lawyer argued that there has never been a legal basis for the persecution of Falun Gong and that his client should never have been arrested in the first place. Per the new interpretation, there was even more reason to drop the indictment against his client.
As the procuratorate and the court refused to consider his opinion, the lawyer filed complaints against both the prosecutor and the judge, accusing them of violating the new interpretation and committing dereliction of duty.
May 4 was the scheduled court date for Mr. Shi, but before the hearing took place, his lawyer visited the procuratorate and the court to urge them to drop the case.
The lawyer reiterated the illegality of the persecution and the indictment's lack of merit. The judge eventually canceled the hearing, and the prosecutor promised to give the lawyer a response in one week.
The lawyer received a notice two weeks later, informing him that his client would be acquitted and released four days later.
Mr. Shi returned home on May 22.