Three Women Sentenced to Predetermined Prison Terms, Families Kept in Dark of Appeal Results
(Minghui.org) Three Xinji City, Hebei Province, residents were taken to the Shijiazhuang Women’s Prison on August 17, 2020, to serve time for their faith in Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Li Yuemian, Ms. Zheng Yanmei, and Ms. Bian Yanjuan were arrested on the afternoon of April 12, 2019, after being reported for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong.
The police put them in criminal detention at Hengshui Detention Center the next day, and the local procuratorate approved their arrests on April 30. The over 200 copies of Falun Gong materials, including DVDs, booklets, and posters, were used as prosecution evidence against them.
The police first submitted their case to the Shenzhou City Procuratorate but later transferred it to the Anping Procuratorate after the former returned the case for insufficient evidence.
The practitioners made two joint court appearances, first on November 8, 2019, and again on January 8, 2020. The judge announced their verdicts in March 2020: Ms. Bian was sentenced to two years and three months with a 10,000-yuan fine, Ms. Zheng was given two years and two months and fined 9,000 yuan, and Ms. Li was sentenced to two years with an 8,000-yuan fine. The practitioners noted that the verdicts were dated December 26, 2019, before their second hearing even took place.
They proceeded to file appeals with the Hengshui City Intermediate Court in April 2020. The appeals court judge told their families that he would inform them when he scheduled a hearing, and he promised that the final ruling would be decided in three months.
On August 14, the practitioners’ families learned from a detention center guard that they would be transferred to the prison next week but were not told the specific date. The guard also revealed that the practitioners’ cases had been closed on June 18, 2020, but none of the practitioners’ families have received notice from the appeals court.
Since the practitioners’ families and lawyers have been denied visits to them so far this year, the outcomes of their appeals remain to be investigated.