79-Year-Old Woman Sentenced for Her Faith, Duped into Signing Paperwork for Court-appointed Lawyer in Appeal Case
(Minghui.org) A Jinan City, Shandong Province resident is appealing a two-year prison sentence for her faith in Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Feng Chunying, 79, was arrested in November 2018 and sentenced to two years with a 5,000 yuan fine by Changqing District Court on September 10, 2019.
Days after she filed an appeal with Jinan City Intermediate Court, judge Chen Jing from the appeals court met with her and attempted to persuade her to give up her faith.
Ms. Feng refused to comply and challenged judge Chen to provide legal documents to justify the persecution of Falun Gong. Chen said that she had nothing to show and went on to suggest that Ms. Feng use a court-appointed lawyer at no cost.
Ms. Feng turned down the offer and said she would only accept a lawyer who agreed to enter a not guilty plea for her, which wouldn’t be the case for the court-appointed lawyer.
A few days after Ms. Feng’s meeting with judge Chen, a stranger showed up at her door uninvited on October 30, 2019. He claimed to be lawyer Li and came to provide free legal service to Ms. Feng. He refused to reveal his given name or the law firm that he is associated with, however.
Seeing that he had a copy of her appeal in his hand, Ms. Feng was certain that he was sent by judge Chen. The man complimented her on how well her appeal was written, and she felt that he was on her side. She asked him to enter a not guilty plea for her, and he said he'd try his best. Hearing this, Ms. Feng signed the power of attorney he prepared without reading it.
In just a few days, Ms. Feng regretted her decision to sign the paperwork without giving it a read. She realized she might have been duped into signing something that would allow the court-appointed lawyer to plead guilty for her.
She mailed a letter to judge Chen to invalidate the power of attorney she had signed for lawyer Li to represent her. She also reiterated her determination to plead not guilty.
Judge Chen hasn't responded to Ms. Feng at the time of writing.