Update on Five Practitioners Arrested One Year Ago: One Dies in Prison, One Critically Ill, Remaining Three Denied Attorney Visits
(Minghui.org) One year after five residents of Benxi City, Liaoning Province were arrested for raising awareness about their faith in Falun Gong, one has died in custody, one was released on bail after becoming critically ill, and the other three remain in detention and have been denied visits by their lawyers.
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.
Ms. Yang Liwei, Ms. Zhang Limin, Mr. Deng Yulin, Mr. Zhang Pengzhu (no relation to Ms. Zhang Limin), and Mr. Hu Lin were arrested on May 23, 2019 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. The police ransacked their homes the next day and confiscated Falun Gong-related items.
Ms. Yang and Ms. Zhang were detained at the Benxi City Detention Center. Mr. Deng and Mr. Zhang were held at the Hengren County Detention Center. Mr. Hu was sent to the Faku County Detention Center.
As Mr. Hu, an aircraft engineer, had been on the police Wanted List after he escaped a previous arrest, the police submitted his case to the prosecutor first. He was sentenced to two years on June 20, 2019 by the Faku County Court.
Mr. Hu held a hunger strike to protest the persecution. The authorities refused to release him on medical parole, even when his condition became critical. He passed away at Kangjiashan Prison on February 16, 2020.
The other four practitioners were indicted by the Hengren County Procuratorate on August 13, 2019, only ten days after the police submitted their cases. They are now awaiting trial by the Hengren County Court.
Ms. Yang suffered multiple organ failure due to abuse at the detention center and has been released on bail.
The detention center has blocked the other three practitioners’ lawyers from visiting them for the past four months, citing the coronavirus outbreak.