Lawyers Urge Judge Not to Send Another Law-Abiding Falun Gong Practitioner to Prison
(Minghui.org) A Fengcheng City, Liaoning Province, resident made her second court appearance on August 13, 2020, for practicing Falun Gong, an ancient spiritual and meditation discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Liu Yinfeng’s two lawyers entered a not guilty plea on her behalf. They warned that wrongfully charging and sentencing Falun Gong practitioners for their constitutional right to freedom of belief is abusing the law, as no law in China deems Falun Gong a crime. They also listed multiple cases of judges dismissing Falun Gong practitioners’ cases. They urged the judge to make the right decision in this case to avoid imprisoning one more innocent Falun Gong practitioner for her faith.
Ms. Liu, 68, was arrested on May 30, 2018, on her way home from grocery shopping. She first appeared in the Fengcheng City Court on January 9, 2019. The same two lawyers entered a not guilty plea for her and demanded her acquittal.
The judge later returned the case to the procuratorate, citing “insufficient evidence.” But prosecutor Tang Jinfeng refused to dismiss it.
When Ms. Liu appeared in court again on August 13, 2020, she was carried into the gallery by several bailiffs. According to people in attendance, she was emaciated and so weak that she had trouble lifting her head.
Prosecutor Tang again accused Ms. Liu of “undermining the law with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Liu refuted the charges. She said, “I never harmed anyone or did anything illegal. You are accusing me of undermining law enforcement, but can you tell me what law I have undermined?”
The prosecutor didn't address her question.
Ms. Liu shared her personal experiences with Falun Gong. She used to suffer from many ailments and had a bad temper. But after learning Falun Gong, she followed the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance in her daily life and soon recovered her health. She urged the judge and the prosecutor not to follow the communist regime’s persecution policy and be an accomplice.
Ms. Liu’s lawyers followed up by emphasizing that it was Ms. Liu’s constitutional right to practice her religion and express herself freely. They also read a notice from the Chinese publication bureau that lifted the ban on Falun Gong books in 2011.
In addition to pointing out the lack of legal grounds for the charge, Ms. Liu’s lawyers testified against the police for violating legal procedures in handling her case, from failing to show their IDs during her arrest to raiding her home without a search warrant or any of her family members present to neglecting to have her family sign the list of confiscated items afterwards.
The lawyers also pointed out the inadmissibility of accounts of the prosecution's witnesses. One document was signed by witness Shi’s son, not Shi himself as is required by law. Another witness stated that he burned the Falun Gong book Ms. Liu had allegedly given him—a claim with no corroborating evidence.
The prosecutor frequently interrupted the lawyers’ defense and recommended sentencing Ms. Liu to seven years in prison with a fine.
In their closing remarks, the lawyers cited the case of Ms. Leng Dongmei, an acquaintance of Ms. Liu, who was sentenced to three years around early 2016 and died in 2018 at the age of 49 as a result of being tortured in prison. They urged the judge not to have their client become the next Ms. Leng.
The judge adjourned the hearing without announcing the verdict.