(Minghui.org) Mr. Shao Shengrui and his wife Fan Yingxia from Urumqi City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, were sentenced to three years in prison in the Toutunhe District Court on January 11, 2018. They are appealing their sentences to the intermediate court.

During the trial, the police named the couple's four-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy, as witnesses. Officer Cheng Xueli coerced the children into providing “testimony” against their parents.

The children had been taken care of by their maternal grandmother while the couple was in detention for more than one year. The grandmother, who was not in good health, traveled from Urumqi to take care of her grandchildren. She then had a stroke and had to be hospitalized. The daughter is now being cared for by a relative; their disabled son is at home on his own with no one to care for him.

Ms. Fan, 44, was arrested by Shiyouxincun Police Station officers on June 2, 2016, when she distributed pamphlets about Falun Gong. The police ransacked her home and took the family's personal belongings, including the children's PC. Ms. Fan was first detained for 15 days in a detention house and then transferred to the Suimoguo Detention Center on June 17, 2016.

Mr. Shao, 47, was arrested at his place of work, the Wulumuqi Railway Bureau, on the same day as his wife. His arrest was officially approved by the Toutunhe District Police Department on July 13, 2016. His employer stopped paying his salary the day he was arrested.

The Toutunhe District Procuratorate sent the couple's cases to the Toutunhe District Court in December 2016. A notification to postpone their trial was issued by the court at the end of February 2017.

Their lawyer was informed on June 13, 2017, that the hearing would be held on June 22, 2017. During the hearing, the boy's testimony was used against his parents. The lawyer pointed out that, since their son had been declared incompetent by the judge, his testimony should not be used as evidence.

The lawyer also argued that the issue of whether or not the 870 Falun Gong flyers could be judged as a single book or be regarded as propaganda material was questionable. The judge took the lawyers' advice and temporarily adjourned the hearing.

The second hearing was held five months later, on December 26, 2017. The judge did not allow the couple to speak and kept interrupting their defense lawyers. Both lawyers pleaded their clients' innocence.

The couple's four-year-old daughter is very weak and often has colds. Their 16-year-old son was disabled at birth. He is unable to take care of himself and needs to be carried going up and down the stairs and to and from school. After one of his parents was arrested at the beginning of June 2016, he was unable to go to school for more than 20 days and failed an exam. He hasn't been able to get downstairs for more than eight months.

Their defense lawyer submitted a bail-pending application due to the family's situation, but the request was denied. Their relatives hired a lawyer from Beijing, and the couple's son signed a power of attorney. The court rejected the lawyer with the excuse that the son was incompetent.

The lawyer asked the judge, “Since the court has declared the son incompetent due to his cerebral palsy, how can you name him as a witness and use his testimony?”

The judge argued that there was a legal guardian present but did not answer the lawyer's question. The judge then told the family that it would be troublesome to deal with a lawyer from Beijing and instructed them to dismiss him.

People involved in persecuting Mr. Shao and Ms. Fan:Li Peng, public prosecutor, Toutunhe District Procuratorate: +86-15276776137Li Meng, public prosecutor, Toutunhe District Procuratorate: +86- 991-3101223Zuhalinuer, judge, Toutunhe District Court: +86-991-3103525Li Jing, guard, No.3 Detention Center of Urumqi City: +86-991-4912790Lei Gang, police officer, Shiyouxincun Police Station: +86-18899198762