Practitioner Sentenced to Prison for Her Belief and Denied Right to Appeal
(Minghui.org) Ms. Hang Xia from Hefei City, Anhui Province, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison earlier this year for her belief in Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa), a spiritual discipline that has been persecution by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Her defense lawyer's attempt to open a dialogue with the Yaohai District Court was met with much difficulty. The court officials openly violated the law and denied Ms. Hang's right to appeal.
Ms. Hang Xia was sentenced at the Hefei Detention Center where she has been held since November 2017. The Yaohai District Court and Procuratorate violated due process multiple times and deliberately tried to stop her defense lawyers from representing her at her trial.
Ms. Hang is from the Wanjiang Residential Community in Hefei City. She was arrested by police officers from the Qilitang Police Station on November 22, 2017, for talking to people about Falun Gong and exposing how it is wrongly being persecuted.
Arrest and Detention
While walking in a park during her lunch break on November 22, 2017, Ms. Hang was abducted and taken to the Qilitang Police Station. The key to her house was confiscated and her home was ransacked.
Ms. Hang was taken to the Hefei Detention Center the next morning and has been held there ever since. Her arrest warrant was issued by the Yaohai District Procuratorate after her case was transferred to the Yaohai District Court in early 2018.
Court and Procuratorate Obstruct Defense Lawyer
Public Prosecution Division Chief Liu Wen of the Yaohai District Procuratorate turned down Ms. Hang's defense lawyer's request to review her case file. She sent the lawyer out of her office after finding out that he is not a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Yang Lianwen, president of the district court, never met with Ms. Hang's lawyer in person despite his multiple attempts to see him. During their first brief phone conversation, Yang falsely claimed that Ms. Hang had another defense lawyer working on the case before he abruptly hung up.
After Yang's secretary stopped the lawyer outside of his office in March 2018, Yang told the lawyer on the phone to go to the Procuratorate where he was directed back to the court. Ms. Hang's lawyer has not heard from Yang since then.
Party Committee Secretary Chen Qiao from the Yaohai District Court also threatened Ms. Hang's family and attempted to make them sign an agreement to fire her lawyer from Beijing.
Ms. Hang hired another attorney from Guangdong who met with similar obstacles. His attempt to view the case file on May 16 ended when Judge Chen called him a “foreign threat” and three marshals escorted him out of the court compound.
Violation of Due Process During Trial
It was announced on May 28 that a trial was scheduled four days later on June 1. Initially, neither of the two defense lawyers were allowed to defend Ms. Hang in court. After prolonged negotiation, President Yang agreed to allow the lawyer from Guangdong represent Ms. Hang in court and postponed the trial by 10 days.
One of Yang's associates contacted Ms. Hang's family before the trial and asked that they fire the Guangdoing lawyer, but the family refused. The trial was further postponed to June 12.
During the trial, Ms. Hang exercised her right to request that both her lawyers represent her in court. Her request was turned down by Yang. The only evidence presented by the Procuratorate against Ms. Hang was that she publicly stated, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good. Falun Dafa is good.”
Ms. Hang's health has deteriorated at the Hefei Detention Center since her arrest more than one year ago. Her poor health was ignored by the judge, however, and not taken into consideration in deciding her sentence.
Many people from the community attended the hearing and the trial.
Regained Health through Practicing Falun Dafa
Ms. Hang was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and underwent two major surgeries and a year of chemotherapy. She continued to take medication for the next three years.
After she started practicing Falun Gong in 1998, she quickly regained her health. She was able to help with household chores and also worked part-time jobs. After they heard her story, people who knew Ms. Hang were amazed at Falun Dafa's remarkable effects.
Responsible Parties in Ms. Hang Xia's case:
Yang Lianwen (杨联文), president of the Yaohai District Court: +86-0551- 65352662 (office), +86-18905600797 (mobile)Chen Qiao (陈桥), Yaohai District Court Secretary of the Party Committee: +86- 0551-65352751 (office)Liu Wen (刘雯), Yaohai District Procuratorate Chief, Public Prosecution Division: +86- 0551-63503286 (office), +86-13083401740 (mobile)