(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Wu Juan and Ms. Wang Li from Fengcheng City, Liaoning Province, were sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by the Fengcheng Court on December 27, 2018. The sentences took place after the women had already been detained for nearly one year.

Ms. Wu and Ms. Wang were reported by village chief Bu Jingkui on February 1, 2018, when they were handing out Chinese New Year paintings and booklets with information about Falun Gong. They were arrested by police officers from Fengshan Police Department.

Their homes were ransacked later, and they were sent to the Dandong Detention Center the next day. Their family members believe that there is nothing wrong with their loved ones practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual practice adhering to the tenets Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

The family demanded the release of their loved ones and filed lawsuits against the police officers. However, they were threatened by the Fengshan Police Department.

The Fengcheng City Procuratorate and Fengshan Police Department sent the case to the Fengcheng City Court on May 21. The two practitioners were tried on August 16 by Fengcheng court, and their attorneys defended their innocence.

Attorney Li pointed out that religious belief is a right granted to citizens by the Constitution. In accordance with the provisions of Article 251 of the Criminal Law, depriving citizens of their freedom of religious belief is illegal.

Attorney Zhao added that no law in China has criminalized Falun Gong, and that practicing Falun Gong is a not a crime. It is severely damaging to the rule of law, he said, to defame beliefs because they are not in line with state ideology.

Presiding judge Ji Longbin repeatedly interrupted the attorney's defense. The trial was conducted for more than three hours before he finally announced adjournment.

On December 27, 2018, Fengcheng Court illegally sentenced Ms. Wu Juan and Ms. Wang Li to three-and-a-half years in prison and imposed a fine of 10,000 yuan. The two Falun Gong practitioners and their families appealed to the Dandong Intermediate Court.

Related article: Two Fengcheng Practitioners in Liaoning Province Detained

Parties involved in the persecution:

Fengcheng City Court, Liaoning ProvinceJi Longbin (季龙斌), vice president and presiding judge: +86-415-2277710, +86-18241582166Guo Gang (郭刚), deputy chief of Fengshan Police Department: +86-13704952777Bu Jingkui (卜井奎), village chief reporting Ms. Wu Juan and Ms. Wang Li to police: +86-186415141111