Liaoning Couple and a Friend Tried for Their Faith, Prosecution's Witnesses Absent from Hearing
(Minghui.org) Three Changtu County, Liaoning Province residents appeared in court on May 19, 2020 for their faith in Falun Gong.
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. Jin Liguo and his wife Ms. Liu Yuhua were arrested on October 9, 2019, after being reported by six postal workers for mailing letters about Falun Gong to the local judiciary agencies. The post office staff opened their letters after they dropped them off.
A dozen armed police officers surrounded the couple’s home and cordoned off their apartment building during the arrests, telling onlookers that the couple were suspected murderers.
After breaking into the couple’s home, the officers locked them up and ransacked their place. Their Falun Gong books, computer and printer were confiscated. Another two practitioners, Ms. Zhang Xuehua and Ms. Zhang Lizhen (no relation), who happened to be visiting the couple, were also arrested.
The three female practitioners were sent to Tieling City Detention Center in the afternoon, and Mr. Jin was taken to Changtu County Detention Center in the evening.
Ms. Zhang Xuehua was coerced by the police to write a guarantee statement to renounce Falun Gong and was cleared of prosecution. The three other practitioners, who refused to comply, had their cases submitted to the procuratorate. The prosecutor returned their cases to the police and demanded more evidence in December 2019, before indicting the practitioners and moving their cases to the Changtu County Court.
During the hearing on May 19, the practitioners’ lawyer entered a not guilty plea for them. The lawyer pointed out that the authorities have violated the law in every step of the prosecution process, from opening his clients’ private mail without their permission, to the police’s ransacking their home without a search warrant. In addition, the lawyer had requested to have the police officers and the six postal workers, who had been listed as prosecution witnesses, to appear in court to accept cross-examination, but none of them showed up.
The prosecutor repeatedly asked the practitioners during the hearing whether they believe in “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,” the core principles of Falun Gong. The lawyer pointed out that it’s absurd that the prosecutor is treating one’s belief in “Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance” as a crime.
The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.
Ms. Liu has been suffering from persistent high blood pressure and diabetes since her arrest. She is emaciated and couldn’t take in much food. The authorities refused to release her on bail to seek medical treatment. They also forced her to take unknown medicine, which caused her to have intense headaches and severe sweating. When she refused to take the medicine, they hung her up by the wrists to torture her.
Mr. Jin lost more than 30 lbs due to the abuse in custody and mental pressure from the persecution.