Defense Lawyers Make Final Push as Appeals Court Considers Issuing Ruling Without Holding a Hearing
(Minghui.org) The defense lawyers for a Maoming City resident sentenced for his faith submitted additional documents to the local appeals court after learning that the higher court intended to issue a ruling without holding a hearing.
Mr. Zhu Shixiong, 55, was arrested on September 20, 2017, for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
Mr. Zhu's lawyers entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during his court appearance on January 11, 2018. They argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that their client should never have been prosecuted for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief.
Prosecutor Dai Jianlan of the Maonan District Procuratorate alleged that police found 500 copies of Falun Gong materials in Mr. Zhu's home. When his lawyers challenged Dai to present the materials in court, Dai had nothing to show.
The lawyers also testified against the arresting officers, who raided Mr. Zhu's appliance repair shop and arrested him without a search warrant. Mr. Zhu's cell phone and computer were confiscated, but the two items were not listed on the indictment.
The lawyers demanded Mr. Zhu's acquittal.
Judge Tan Wei sentenced Mr. Zhu to 1.5 years in prison and fined him 2,000 yuan on February 6. The same judge sentenced Mr. Zhu to 3 years in prison back in 2005, also for his faith in Falun Gong.
Mr. Zhu asked the same lawyers to represent him in his appeal case. Judge Li Nan of Maoning City Intermediate Court called the lawyers three times in early April 2018 to inform them that the higher court did not plan to hold a public hearing as they had requested.
The lawyers visited judge Li on April 10 to submit two additional documents. The first document reiterated their request to hold a hearing in the appeals case. The second document highlighted the illegal arrest and sentencing of their client.