Lawyer in Jilin Denied Right to Represent Falun Gong Practitioner
(Minghui.org) A woman in Nong'an County had a lawyer ready to defend her right to freedom of belief, but he wasn't allowed to represent her in court.
Ms. Wang Juan is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime. She was arrested on June 23, 2017, while using her cell phone to call people to play messages about the persecution of Falun Gong.
The police forced her to keep the phone on until it ran out of battery. They next recorded how many calls were placed.
Ms. Wang's lawyer tried to review her case, but Nong'an County Procuratorate rejected his request three times. However, the procuratorate returned her case to Nong'an County Police Department twice, citing insufficient evidence. The police refused to release her and threatened her family when the latter demanded her release.
The police later managed to have her case accepted by the procuratorate, which moved to indict her with making an excessive number of phone calls.
Ms. Wang's lawyer filed an application to represent her in court, and officials at Nong'an County Court demanded that he show approval from his local judicial bureau, Political and Legal Affairs Committee, and lawyers' association. None of the agencies knew how to issue such an approval, as it was not a legal requirement to establish a lawyer-client relationship.
The lawyer was thus unable to defend Ms. Wang in court on March 29, 2018. Ms. Wang testified in her own defense. She argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that it was her constitutional right to make phone calls.
The prosecutor then alleged that the content of her phone calls was illegal, but he failed to specify which law her calls broke.
Ms. Wang remains at Changchun City Fourth Detention Center.
Related Article in Chinese:长春市农安县王娟遭非法庭审 律师辩护权被剥夺