Woman Denied Right to Testify in Her Own Defense
(Minghui.org) A Changli County resident tried to testify in her own defense during her second court hearing, but the presiding judge kept interrupting her and ended the session in less than 20 minutes.
Ms. Pang Xiaohong was arrested on April 27, 2017, while talking to people about the Chinese communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
She first appeared in court on February 7, 2018. Her daughter, who was slated to be her witness, was arrested moments before the hearing was about to start. Her lawyer was driven out of the courtroom before he had a chance to present his arguments.
Ms. Pang's second court date was set for April 19. The judge asked whether she needed a court-appointed lawyer, and she said no. Court-appointed lawyers are often instructed to enter guilty pleas for Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Pang knew that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that she broke no law by talking to people about Falun Gong.
The judge warned Ms. Pang to not repeat what she had already said during her first court hearing. He ordered the prosecutor to read out loud the indictment again.
The prosecution witness, whose real name was not stated on the indictment as required by law, was nowhere to be found in court. The prosecutor also didn't present any physical evidence listed on the indictment.
When it was Ms. Pang's turn to talk, she said, “I am just a regular woman who practices Falun Gong to improve mind and health. How could I have undermined law enforcement?” The judge stopped her right away. He asked if she had anything else to say, and Ms. Pang said the two arresting officers searched her bag without showing a search warrant.
The judge interrupted her again and asked if she admitted guilt. She replied that she didn't commit any crime.
The judge stopped Ms. Pang and adjourned the session immediately.