(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioner Mr. Han Zhong was arrested and detained in a local detention center in Tongling City, Anhui Province on January 16, 2017. He was sentenced to one year in prison on July 7.

This is not the first time that Mr. Han has been persecuted for refusing to renounce his faith. While he was in a labor camp in 2006, he was beaten until he lost sight in his right eye. He was sentenced to six years in prison three years later.

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About 30 uniformed and plainclothes officers from the local Domestic Security Division attended the hearing on June 28, 2017, occupying the back two rows of the gallery.

Mr. Han’s two lawyers requested the prosecutors be removed from the case because they were members of the Chinese Communist Party and thus unfit to prosecute Mr. Han for his spiritual faith in Falun Gong. The presiding judge rejected the lawyer’s request.

The lawyers entered a not-guilty plea for Mr. Han and refuted the prosecution evidence, which included Mr. Han’s writing “the Chinese Communist Party is a cult” in a public place and shouting “Falun Dafa is good.”

Mr. Han’s lawyers also cited Clause 36 of the Chinese Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to freedom of religious belief, to show that Mr. Han broke no law by promoting Falun Dafa. According to Clause 41 of the Chinese Constitution, citizens have the right to reproach and disapprove of any state organs and officials for their illegal actions and crimes.

As no law in China criminalizes Falun Dafa, they continued, Mr. Han had every right to criticize the Chinese Communist Party, which launched its campaign against Falun Dafa in 1999.

The lawyers argued that the charges against Mr. Han lacked legal basis and that the case should be dismissed. They requested Mr. Han’s immediate release.

The judge adjourned the hearing. When the trial resumed on July 7, the judge sentenced Mr. Mr. Han to one year in prison.