(Minghui.org) The presiding judge in the trial of a Falun Gong practitioner applauded the defense arguments but still sentenced the defendant to prison under the pressure of a non-judicial agency.

Mr. Mo Yishan, a 36-year-old resident in Pengxi County, was arrested on March 13, 2017, while talking to people about Falun Gong in Chengdu. Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Mr. Mo was misled by his lawyer and agreed to have the latter enter a guilty plea for him. He also refused to meet with his father, Mr. Mo Mingxue, on the advice of his lawyer.

The elder Mr. Mo, who also practices Falun Gong, knew that no law in China criminalizes the faith. He was determined to fight for his son's justice. He dropped the lawyer the day before the court hearing on June 19, 2018, and became his son's defender. According to insiders, this was the first such case in the region.

The prosecutor charged the younger Mr. Mo with “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.

The elder Mr. Mo refuted the charges. He pointed out that the National People's Congress, China's legislative body, has never enacted a law labeling Falun Gong a cult. As such, his son should not have been prosecuted for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of belief.

The prosecutor alleged that the younger Mr. Mo distributed Falun Gong informational materials, which in itself was illegal. He cited two notices issued by China's Administration of Press and Publications in July 1999 to ban the publication of Falun Gong books.

The elder Mr. Mo countered that the Administration had issued a repeal of the ban in 2011 and that it was fully legal for practitioners to own and disseminate Falun Gong books and informational materials. Moreover, he argued that his son's distribution of such materials caused no harm to anyone, let alone undermine law enforcement.

Judge Wang Runming ordered a 15-minute recess. During the break, he held the elder Mr. Mo's written defense arguments and kept asking whether the latter had written everything by himself.

When the elder Mr. Mo confirmed that he wrote the defense statement, Judge Wang said to him, “Well written! Well written! Very logical and convincing. [Practicing Falun Gong] is legal.”

When the hearing resumed, the prosecutor said that the 610 Office considered the prosecution evidence sufficient to sentence the younger Mr. Mo. The 610 Office is an extralegal agency tasked with carrying out the communist regime's persecution of Falun Gong and given power to override the judicial system.

Wang sentenced the younger Mr. Mo to 3.5 years in prison and fined him 3,000 yuan at the end of the hearing. Mr. Mo immediately said he would appeal the sentence.

Related Report:

China Administration of Press and Publication Repealed Its Ban on Publication of Falun Gong Books in 2011