Lawyer Deprived of Right to Defend Client, Who Was Sentenced to Prison and Has Appeal Turned Down
(Minghui.org) An appeals court in Jilin Province ruled to uphold the guilty verdict against a Falun Gong practitioner without allowing her lawyer to represent her. The same lawyer was also denied access to review her case when he tried to defend her innocence in the initial trial.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
Ms. Han Guangzhi, a Yushu City resident, was arrested on August 2, 2017, for talking to people about the persecution of Falun Gong. She hired a lawyer from Tianjin to represent her. The lawyer traveled to Yushu six times but was denied access to her case file each time.
Judge Sun Li of Yushu City Court didn't inform Ms. Han's daughter of her mother's court appearance until the day before the scheduled date. As such, Ms. Han's lawyer wasn't able to attend her trial on December 20, 2017.
Ms. Han was verbally told on April 3, 2018, that she has been sentenced to 7 years in prison and fined 20,000 yuan. Judge Sun asked if she had anything to say, and she replied, “You didn't allow my lawyer to represent me in court. I do not acknowledge the verdict. I am going to appeal.”
The same lawyer agreed to represent Ms. Han in her appeal case. He traveled to Yushu and Changchun a total of five more times, but he was still not allowed to review his client's case file. Additionally, he was asked to produce an approval letter from his local Tianjin Judicial Bureau saying he was allowed to represent Falun Gong practitioners.
By law, lawyers have the right to represent any willing client. Ms. Han's lawyer, however, was deprived of his right to represent Ms. Han.
Shi Quan of Changchun City Intermediate Court visited Yushu City Detention Center to interrogate Ms. Han. He asked if she admitted guilt, and she replied, “No law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. I didn't commit any crime. You are breaking the law by denying my lawyer's access to my case file.”
Shi went to the detention center again on June 12, 2018, and told her that the appeals court had turned down her appeal.