Heilongjiang Woman on Trial for Her Faith, Family Barred from Attending Hearing
(Minghui.org) Ms. Na Limei from Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, was tried by the Railroad Transportation Court on August 7, 2019, for practicing Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime for 20 years.
Ms. Na, 68, was arrested on November 9, 2018, in a sweep of Falun Gong practitioners across Liaoning Province and has been held at Harbin City No.2 Detention Center ever since.
The police ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books, computer, and printer, among many other personal belongings – most of which were later used as evidence for the prosecution.
The Harbin Railroad Procuratorate approved her arrest on December 12, 2018. After returning her case to the police for additional evidence in April 2019, the prosecutor indicted her and moved her case to the court on June 10, with the charge of “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese authorities to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners.
Family Members Barred from Attending Her Hearing
More than ten members of Ms. Na's family went to the courthouse early on August 7 to attend her hearing. After having their IDs scanned and cellphone numbers recorded, they were told that only Ms. Na's two younger sisters would be allowed to observe the hearing.
Li Weixun, the judge's assistant, said the courtroom was too small to accommodate everyone, even though Ms. Na's family countered that they saw from recordings of other public trials that the room was big enough to hold up to 50 people.
Li replied, “Don't say that to me! I'm not in charge of it.” Then he turned around and went upstairs.
As soon as Li left, security guards surrounded the family and prevented them from following Li upstairs. No matter how hard they argued with the court staff, they weren't allowed to attend her hearing.
Ms. Na's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. The lawyer argued that the prosecutor failed to provide sufficient evidence to charge his client. He also emphasized that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that the persecution was illegal in the first place.
Ms. Na was interrogated on three different occasions following her arrest. Her lawyer asked how it was possible that the three interrogation records were exactly the same with not even any difference in the punctuation marks. He argued that such records were obviously fabricated and shouldn't be used as valid evidence.
The prosecution's evidence included the Falun Gong books and related materials confiscated from Ms. Na's home. Her lawyer countered that those items were her lawful possessions and posed no harm to anyone, much less “undermined law enforcement.”
The indictment stated that Ms. Na's computer contained information against the Communist Party. But her case document indicated that the police never turned on her computer. If that was the case, argued her lawyer, how did the police or the prosecutor find the alleged anti-Party information on her computer?
Ms. Na testified in her own defense, saying how Falun Gong improved her health and renewed her life. She urged the judge not to participate in the illegal persecution, as it is Falun Gong practitioners' constitutional right to freedom of belief.
The judge adjourned the hearing and said he would announce the verdict at a later time.