Court Refuses to Reveal Verdicts Against Falun Gong Practitioners
(Minghui.org) A local court in Guangshan County has refused to reveal the verdicts for two Falun Gong practitioners to their families and lawyers.
Mr. Jian Xuefu, 48, and Mr. He Yuanlang, 44, were arrested on March 22, 2017 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. Though the local procuratorate initially returned the case to police, it eventually filed indictments against the two men.
Mr. Jian and Mr. He appeared in court twice, on October 20 and November 16, respectively. Their families and lawyers haven’t been given an official update since the second hearing. The local Guangshan County court only revealed that the two practitioners have filed an appeal.
The families inferred that Mr. Jian and Mr. He must have been given jail term again for their faith. Mr. Jian had been imprisoned for six years and Mr. He seven years in the past.
Families’ Efforts to Find Out Verdicts Go Nowhere
The two practitioners’ families visited the court on the morning of December 18. The receptionist put them on the phone with chief judge Liang Miao. They wondered why the practitioners hadn’t been released, and Liang replied, “Who said they have been acquitted?”
Liang referred them to judge Zhang Zhiyong. The person answering the phone wasn’t Zhang, and he said that Mr. Jian and Mr. He have filed an appeal. The families were shocked that they weren’t told of the appeal. That person claimed that there was no need to inform families. They then asked if lawyers should be informed. That person answered after some hesitation, “…well, yes, we should notify lawyers.” He then hung up.
The families next tried another phone number for judge Zhang. A woman picked up the phone and claimed that Zhang was presiding over a trial at a specific courtroom. They told her they were on the second floor, where all courtrooms were located, and saw no trial going on. She hung up without saying anything further.
The families dialed judge Liang’s number again. No one answered the phone, so they went downstairs to the lobby. The receptionist called judge Zhang instead and listened quietly for two minutes. She then hung up and told the families, “[Mr. Jian and Mr. He] have filed appeals. Their case no longer has anything to do with us. You should go talk to the appeals court.”
She refused to give out contact information for the Guangshan County Court president, claiming that the latter didn’t handle such trivial matters. The families eventually got court vice president Hu Guangyou’s phone number from her.
Hu said that he’d look into this matter. A short while later, the receptionist asked the families to go upstairs to see judge Zhang.
Zhang told them that the verdicts were issued by a group of 17 people, but refused to discuss it further. The families warned that they’d file a complaint against Zhang. He replied, “You can’t sue me” and left in a rush.
The families told their lawyers of what happened, and the lawyers said they too haven’t heard anything from the court. They went together to the local detention center in the afternoon, but were not allowed to meet with the two practitioners.