(Minghui.org) Three women in Jiaozuo City were released on July 28, 2017, after the local court approved the local procuratorate’s motion to withdraw its indictment against them. All of them showed signs of abuse sustained in detention.

Ms. Zhang Zhe, Ms. Li Xiaojun, and Ms. Sun Yanping were arrested around May 2016 for filing criminal complaints against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Falun Gong.

Shanyang District Procuratorate charged all three women with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.

The indictment was based on 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 Jiang launched a nationwide campaign against Falun Gong. The interpretation directed that anyone practicing or spreading Falun Gong be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible as the practice was a cult.

As the case was moving through the judicial system, a new statutory interpretation of the Criminal Law was developed to replace the 1999 version, and it took 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 based on solid legal grounds.

Since no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong or labels it a cult, the procuratorate found no legal basis to maintain its indictment against the three practitioners. It filed a motion to drop the charge, citing the change in statutory interpretation of the criminal law.

The court approved the motion and ordered the practitioners’ release. The officers who arrested the practitioners in 2016, however, tried to have the practitioners sign a form saying that they were only detained for 15 days, not more than a year. The practitioners refused to comply.

The practitioners’ families noticed they were no longer the once-healthy women they knew. Ms. Zhang, in her 50s, couldn’t stand up straight. Ms. Sun was very weak.

Ms. Li, in her 40s, revealed to her family that she was only given three small steamed buns to eat every day during her detention. The guards also denied everyone in her cell toilet tissue. As a result, her cellmates blamed her for everything and kept beating and cursing at her.

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