Three Liaoning Residents Face Trial for Their Faith, Lawyer Urges Judge to Drop Case
(Minghui.org) The lawyer representing a Falun Gong practitioner in Dandong City, Liaoning Province is demanding that the judge dismiss his case.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Ju Shimiao, a 45-year-old financial management professional, was arrested together with Ms. Sun Zhongqin, 68, and Ms. Tong Xiuhong on December 8, 2019, for talking to people about Falun Gong. The police ransacked the three practitioners’ homes and also arrested Ms. Zhou Chunling, who happened to stop by Mr. Ju’s place when the police came.
Ms. Sun, Ms. Tong and Ms. Zhou were taken to the Dandong Detention Center that night, and Mr. Ju was held at Fengcheng Detention Center. Ms. Zhou was released after 12 days of detention. Ms. Tong was released later on bail.
The Zhen’an District Procuratorate approved Ms. Sun, Ms. Tong and Mr. Ju’s arrests on January 15 and indicted them on June 28, 2020. Ms. Sun and Mr. Ju’s families hired lawyers to represent them.
On September 4, Mr. Ju’s lawyer submitted a letter to the Zhen’an District Court, requesting the judge to dismiss the charge against him.
The lawyer wrote, “Religious freedom is every person’s basic right, and it’s not affected by one’s race, gender, nationality or their belief. This right can never be deprived of or violated by any government in any form.”
He added that one’s thoughts cannot be used as prosecution's evidence against that person and that only actual crimes are to be punished. Given that, one shouldn’t be punished or prosecuted for one’s spiritual belief.
The lawyer also said that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong. As such, regardless of whether Mr. Ju possessed or distributed Falun Gong informational materials as the indictment indicated, he didn’t violate any laws.
This isn’t the first time that Mr. Ju and Ms. Sun have been targeted for their faith. Mr. Ju previously went to Beijing several times to appeal for justice for Falun Gong and was given a four-year labor camp term. Ms. Sun was given one year at Masanjia Forced Labor Camp in 2007 and sentenced to three years in prison in 2011. She was beaten in a dark room, stripped naked and had cold water poured on her.