(Minghui.org) Two Falun Gong practitioners in Ci County, Hebei Province, filed appeals on March 14, 2019, protesting their prison sentences. They have been sentenced for refusing to give up their faith. They are waiting for the Handan City Intermediate Court to hold a public hearing.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body improvement practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Hou Qiaozhen, 77, and Ms. Zhang Peiying, 43, were arrested on May 16, 2018, for talking to people about Falun Gong. Both were taken to Handan City No. 3 Detention Center.
Ms. Zhang was locked in solitary confinement and tied to a “stretching bed” for two days for talking to other detainees about Falun Gong. She could not stand or walk for several days after being let down. She had to be carried into the courtroom by the bailiffs when she and Ms. Hou were tried in the Ci County Court on December 24, 2018.
The presiding judge announced the verdicts three days after the hearing: Ms. Hou was sentenced to three years and fined 2,000 yuan; Ms. Zhang got one year and ten months, with a 1,000-yuan fine.
The court had previously scheduled two earlier hearings for the two but canceled both of them – the first time because the presiding judge had to attend her mother's funeral and the second time because Ms. Zhang refused to cooperate with the judge.
Neither of their families was informed of the changes. They only found out about the cancellations after arriving at the detention center to try to attend the December hearing. They were not allowed in and were given no explanation as to why the court was violating the law by prohibiting families from attending the trial.