Higher Court Overturns Guilty Verdict Against Falun Gong Practitioner and Orders a Retrial
(Minghui.org) An appeals court in Lianyungang City ruled to overturn the guilty verdict against a local teacher sentenced for her belief in Falun Gong. Ms. Zhong Weiling, 64, is scheduled to face retrial on June 16, 2017.
Ms. Zhong was arrested on November 15, 2015 after she filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Falun Gong that resulted in her past detentions.
Ms. Zhong hired a human rights lawyer to defend her constitutional right to seek justice against Jiang for infringing upon her freedom of belief, but the Ganyu District Court never informed the lawyer of her court dates.
Ms. Zhong was tried on March 29, 2016 without legal representation. She testified in her own defense and demanded an acquittal. Judge Yue Renlong said, “It seems we arrested the wrong person, but I have no authority to release you.”
He sentenced Ms. Zhong to three years in prison on December 2, 2016. When confronted by her family regarding the unfair sentencing, he admitted that there was nothing else he could do as he was just following orders.
Ms. Zhong filed an appeal to the Lianyungang City Intermediate Court, which ruled on April 10, 2017 to dismiss the trial court’s decision.
Severe Health Decline in Detention
Ms. Zhong’s health has declined severely while she awaits her retrial in detention. She has been subjected to various forms of abuse since her arrest. The guards at the local detention center have often ordered inmates to beat her and to force her to ingest unknown drugs that have damaged her central nervous system. Ms. Zhong often has a blank look on her face and is also suffering from diabetes. She can no longer walk and has lost all her teeth.
Ganyu District Court: +86-518-86293006