Third Trial Results in Prison Terms for Practitioners in Heilongjiang Province
(Minghui.org) Four practitioners from Bei'an City, Heilongjiang Province were sentenced to prison by the Yabuli Forest Area Court on Dec. 28, 2018. It was the third attempt by state prosecutors to find enough evidence to convict them in court.
Mr. Ma Yitao was sentenced to seven years in prison; Mr. Li Xueliang, to three. Both practitioners have appealed their sentences.
Mr. Ma's wife, Mrs. Ma Yingjie, was given an 18-month prison term, while Ms. Sheng Chunxia was sentenced to three years in prison and four years of probation.
On the evening of Sept. 9, 2017, Mr. Ma, Mr. Li, and Ms. Sheng drove to Wudalianchi City to distribute Falun Gong materials. The police arrested them early the next morning. The officers then went to Ma's home in downtown Bei'an City and ransacked it, confiscating several copies of Falun Dafa books, as well as printed materials. Ma's wife Yingjie, home at the time, was then arrested.
Two trials were subsequently held: one in May of 2018, and a second in September. Reports of these trials were published in Chinese on the Minghui website.
They can be found at the following links:http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2018/5/31/黑龙江省北安市马义涛等四人被非法庭审-368245.html
Two Trials, No Verdicts
At the first trial on May 23, the four practitioners were tried together in the Yabuli Forest Area Court. Prosecutors presented their charges and evidence, as Zheng Ligang, head of the criminal tribunal, presided.
Ma and Li's lawyers argued for acquittal, pointing out that no Chinese law bans the practice of Falun Gong or distributing materials.
Mr. Ma and Mr. Li also spoke in their own defense. Mr. Ma described how he was tortured by the Tongbei Forestry Bureau police in an attempt to extract a confession from him.
He further stated that the head of the Criminal Police Division, Jiang Hongsheng, instructed guards to make him wear 45 pounds of iron plates attached to shackles, for 95 days. Ma said he was also prevented from sleeping and eating for three days and nights.
Mr. Ma and his wife Yingjie both became mentally impaired and suffered severe weight loss due to mistreatment while in police custody.
At the end of the trial, the presiding judge did not issue a verdict.
A second trial was held on Sept. 14, 2018, where again, no verdict was issued. The prosecutors presented new evidence. but the defense lawyers successfully refuted them. The prosecutors gave up before they even finished presenting their case.
Ms. Sheng Chunxia addressed the court and spoke of the amazing health benefits she experienced while practicing Falun Gong, again pointing out that she had not violated any laws. Mr. Li and Ms. Ma also maintained their innocence.
At the end of the trial, Ma Yitao shouted out: "Falun Dafa is great! Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are great!"
According to Ma Yitao, he has benefited both physically and mentally from practicing Falun Gong. He is well respected by his peers, described by friends and family as being kind and honest.
He and his wife Yingjie run a business producing mattresses. Their products are noted for their quality, durability, and comfort, and for being environmentally friendly. In their community, they are viewed as running an honest business with integrity, and they have a good reputation.
After receiving their sentences at the third trial in December, Mr. Ma and Mr. Li were transferred to the Tongbei Forestry Bureau Detention Center in January of 2019.
Ms. Sheng and Ms. Ma have remained in custody in the Daowai District Detention Center, Harbin City.