(Minghui.org) A Tangshan City resident was sentenced to prison for his faith, and the local court tried, unsuccessfully, to stop him from filing an appeal.

Mr. Wang Baoshan was arrested on July 3, 2017, for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

The local Fengrun District Procuratorate twice returned the case to the local police, but the latter resubmitted the case both times. The district procuratorate eventually forwarded the case to the higher Zunhua City Procuratorate on February 27, 2018.

Mr. Wang appeared in Zunhua City Court on May 9 and was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison on July 12.

The court delivered the verdict to Fengrun Detention Center, where Mr. Wang is being held, on July 17.

Mr. Wang's family didn't learn of his prison sentence until July 27 (a Friday) when they visited him at the detention center. They immediately contacted his lawyer, who said he didn't receive any notice from the court either.

The lawyer called the court right away and learned that July 27 was the last day for filing an appeal. He questioned the court why they didn't give him a copy of his client's verdict. The staff there said they mailed a copy to him, but the lawyer never received anything.

The court agreed to give the lawyer until Monday (July 30) to file an appeal for his client. The lawyer went to see Mr. Wang first on July 30 and learned that his client had written an appeal on July 19, but that the court never sent people to pick up the document upon receiving a call from the detention center.

The lawyer called the court while on his way there. He told the staff that his client had written an appeal, and the staff questioned whether it was written within the initial appeal deadline (July 27). The court took the appeal and registered the case upon confirming that the appeal was written before the deadline.

The lawyer received a call from his law firm soon after he left the courthouse, saying that the court's mail to him had just arrived. The mail was dated July 25, only two days before the original appeal deadline.

It became clear to Mr. Wang's family and lawyer that the local court had tried to stop Mr. Wang from filing an appeal by not mailing his lawyer a copy of his verdict or picking up his appeal from the detention center in a timely manner.

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