(Minghui.org) The defense lawyer for a Falun Gong practitioner has filed a complaint against a higher court judge for violating legal procedures in handling his client’s appeal case.
Ms. Lin Baozhen was arrested on April 24, 2017, for distributing materials exposing the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The Shanghai resident appeared in court on November 15, and her lawyer defended her constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. Without holding a sentencing hearing, the presiding judge of Pudong Court notified Ms. Lin on November 28 that she has been sentenced to one year in prison.
This is not the first time that Ms. Lin has been targeted for her faith. She was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison following her earlier arrest on August 20, 2001.
Ms. Lin hired a new lawyer to help her appeal her latest prison sentence. The new lawyer submitted a statement to Shanghai First Intermediate Court on January 18, 2018. In his written statement, the lawyer questioned the prosecution evidence used in the first trial and presented three legal options for the higher court’s consideration. The first option was to acquit Ms. Lin and release her immediately. The second option was to release Ms. Lin on bail and to order a retrial by the lower court. The third option was for the higher court to hold a public hearing to process the appeal.
The lawyer emphasized in his statement that the higher court should at least hold a public hearing if it decided against the first two options. Judge Chen Guangfeng of the higher court promised that he would look into the request for a public hearing.
The lawyer received a notice in the mail on March 12. The notice, dated February 28, 2018, was Judge Chen’s ruling of the appeal case. The lawyer was surprised to read that Chen had decided to uphold Ms. Lin’s guilty verdict without a hearing.
By law, defendants have the right to request public hearings in their appeal cases. Ms. Lin’s lawyer has filed a complaint against judge Chen to the higher court’s monitoring division.
Related Report:Shanghai Woman Faces Prosecution for Practicing Falun Gong