Shanghai Woman Sentenced to Three Years for Practicing Falun Gong
(Minghui.org) The Jing'an District Court in Shanghai tried and sentenced Ms. Ren Fengmei to three years in prison on October 22, 2018. The sentence came one year after Ms. Ren was arrested on October 18, 2017 for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice persecuted by the communist regime since 1999.
While processing her case, the police and prosecutor refused to meet with her lawyer to hear his legal opinion, while the Chinese Code of Criminal Procedure requires the investigation authority to consult the defense lawyer's opinion on the case and make a formal record of it.
Despite her husband and the lawyer's efforts to seek justice for her, the authorities still handed down the sentence against her in the October trial.
Home Ransacked after Arrest, Husband Denied Visitation
During the arrest of Ms. Ren, the police ransacked her home and confiscated her computer, printer and Falun Gong related materials. They kept her at Hongkou District Detention Center and didn't send a detention notice to her family.
Her husband was denied visitation when he delivered clothes to her at the detention center. When he went to the police station and Domestic Security Division to demand a meeting with her, his request was repeatedly ignored.
Police and Prosecutor Refused to Meet with Lawyer Before Submitting Case to Court
Ms. Ren's husband hired a lawyer to represent her. When the two men went to the local police station, security didn't allow them in. Instead, he put the lawyer on the phone with one of the two officers in charge of the case. The officer refused to meet with the lawyer and only revealed their family names as Wang and Zhang. The officer also said that they had already submitted Ms. Ren's case to the procuratorate for approval of the arrest.
The lawyer argued that according to the law, the police should have consulted his opinion on the case before moving forward.
The officer became upset and asked for the lawyer's opinion. The lawyer requested that he meet with him and submit his written opinion in person, but the officer still declined to see him.
The lawyer then left for lunch. When he returned to the police station in the afternoon, security refused to connect him with that officer again. So the lawyer left his written opinion with security and asked him to give it to the officer.
The lawyer later went with Ms. Ren's husband to the Hongkou District Procuratorate to deliver his written opinion. The prosecutor in charge of the case talked to the lawyer on the phone. He refused to meet with the lawyer or provide his contact information. He said the lawyer could simply mail any additional information to the procuratorate.
While the lawyer never received any replies from the police or the prosecutor regarding his legal opinion on the case, he was informed by the prosecutor on November 24, 2017 that Ms. Ren's arrest had been approved.
The police later submitted her case to the procuratorate on January 16, 2018, which forwarded it to Hongkou District Court on February 5. One month later, the Hongkou District Court transferred her case to Jing'an District Court for further prosecution.
Husband Threatened for Writing Appealing Letter
Ms. Ren's arrest and sentencing was a heavy blow to her family. Her husband had just begun disability leave from work and only received meager unemployment benefits to make ends meet. In poor health himself, it also falls on his shoulders to take care of her 85-year-old mother.
In an appeal letter that he wrote to the authorities to seek her release, he recounted how her abdominal cyst had disappeared shortly after she began to practice Falun Gong. With better health and much higher energy level, she took on a lot of household chores that she wasn't able to do in the past.
He also mentioned that she became more considerate and kinder after practicing Falun Gong. She took good care of her parents-in-law and was always ready to help others.
The police and staff from the residential committee harassed Ms. Ren's husband in December 2017 and threatened to arrest him if he wrote more letters.
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