Heilongjiang Women Sentenced After Two Court Hearings
(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners are targeted for arrest and persecution by the Chinese communist regime for refusing to give up their faith, a cultivation system that follows the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
Ms. Wang Yuanju, 61, a resident of Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang Province, were arrested on May 8, 2016. Seven other Falun Gong practitioners in the area were also arrested.
Ms. Wang was taken to the Qitaihe City Detention Center. She was sentenced to a 22-month prison term after two court hearings and is appealing her case.
First Hearing Adjourned Over Protests by Litigant, Lawyers, and Family
Ms. Wang's first court date was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on April 25, 2017 at the Xinxing District Court of Qitaihe City. The two defense lawyers that her family had hired arrived on time for the hearing. However, the security guards demanded that they undergo a security check, which is not a required procedure for lawyers. The lawyers quoted legal precedent but still were refused entry.
Ms. Wang arrived in the court room at 9:30 a.m. When she did not see her lawyers, she protested and asked what had happened to them. The security guard pushed her into the defendant seat. Ms. Wang said that she was mistreated during detention and in a weakened state.
Her family had been denied visiting rights for almost an entire year. Her 78-year-old sister and her son questioned those present about her being mistreated. Ms. Wang comforted them and told them not to be afraid.
The lawyers heard the chaos and tried to go to the courtroom, but they were stopped by several security guards. Ms. Wang and their family members protested and refused to let the trial proceed without the lawyers. The judge adjourned the trial shortly after 10:00 a.m.
Ms. Wang's family applied for medial parole for her at the detention center, the procuratorate, the court, and other relevant agencies, but they were only given the runaround.
The lawyers were notified that Ms. Wang's second court hearing was scheduled for May 17.
Lawyers Invalidate Evidence During Second Hearing
Ms. Wang's lawyers attended the pretrial conference the day before the second hearing. The presiding judge ruled that both lawyers would be exempt from the security check.
The lawyers arrived at the court at 9:30 a.m. on the trial day. However, a guard demanded that they undergo a security check and did not accept the agreement with the judge. The lawyers refused to give in. Finally, the presiding judge told the guards to allow them in without a security check and that they were to use the judges’ entrance going forward.
When bystanders questioned why the lawyers were so stubborn, they told them that the matter concerned their rights.
At the start of the hearing, one of the lawyers pointed out that no court stenographer was present. One of the two prosecutors had to be the stenographer and was unable to speak during the hearing.
The lawyers refuted the evidence presented by the prosecutor on the grounds that the police examiner of the evidence against Ms. Wang was not qualified. Furthermore, the recording witness was also the interrogator, a clear indication that the evidence was fabricated.
The hearing ended close to noon.
Sentence and Appeal
Ms. Wang's verdict was announced on July 4; she was sentenced to 22 months in prison. She filed an appeal, for which her family hired a lawyer.
The lawyer met with Ms. Wang on July 31. She asked that the lawyer tell her family, “I don't resent those [prosecutors] who presented my case since they had all been deceived. I filed my appeal for the purpose of saving these judicial officials. Please tell my son not to be anxious or overreact because of the verdict. Instead, he should treat these officials kindly so they can be saved from committing a grave misjudgment.”
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