(Minghui.org) A 73-year-old woman in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, filed an appeal on the same day that she was sentenced to six years for practicing Falun Gong. Her family filed complaints against the presiding judge the following day for wrongfully sentencing her.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhou Xiuhua was arrested at home on July 15, 2020. After she and her husband were taken to the Wujiashanjie Police Station to be interrogated, the police spent hours searching their home when no one in her family was present. When the couple was released the next day, they discovered that their Falun Gong books and two valuable stamp collection books were gone. At Ms. Zhou’s insistence, the police agreed to provide a list of confiscated items, but it did not include their stamp books. The list didn’t have the names or signatures of the officers who conducted the search, the police seal, or even a date.

Ms. Zhou was summoned to the police station on January 28, 2021. When she arrived, officers took the hospital for a physical exam. Although she failed the exam four times in a row, the police still forced the Wuhan City No.1 Lockup to accept her. After her case was transferred from the Dongxihu District Procuratorate to the Hanyang District Procuratorate in February 2021, she was transferred to the Wuhan City No.1 Detention Center.

Ms. Zhou was indicted and her case was submitted to the Hanyang District Court in June 2021. She was tried in a video conference that lasted 20 minutes on December 22, 2021. Her family had applied to represent her as a non-lawyer defender in court, but the presiding judge, Deng Wei, insisted on appointing a lawyer, who was instructed to enter a guilty plea for her.

Yang Kuo, a Wuhan City Intermediate Court clerk, informed Ms. Zhou’s family on January 26, 2022, that she was sentenced to six years. Yang also went to the detention center himself to deliver the verdict to Ms. Zhou. It’s not clear why Yang from the appeals court instead of someone from the first instance court itself delivered the news. Ms. Zhou appealed the verdict that very day.

The next day, January 27, Ms. Zhou’s family filed complaints against judge Deng Wei of the Hanyang District Court, the Hanyang District Procuratorate, the Wuhan City Procuratorate, the Hubei Province Procuratorate, the Hanyang District Court itself, and the Wuhan City Intermediate Court.

Her family said in their complaints that, according to Chinese law, if a defendant already has legal representation, the court shouldn’t appoint additional legal representation. But even when judge Deng was aware that Ms. Zhou had entrusted her family member to defend her, he still appointed a lawyer for her, without seeking consent from her family or even informing them. Additionally, the judge ignored how the police illegally confiscated her personal belongings, searched her home without her family’s presence, and kept her family in the dark about the hearing.

Ms. Zhou’s family applied with the higher court on January 28 to represent her in the appeals case. It’s not clear whether her appeal or her family’s application to represent her has been accepted.

Perpetrators’ contact information:
Yang Kuo (杨阔), clerk, Wuhan City Intermediate Court: +86-27-65686614
Zhang Yong (张勇), officer, Wuhan City Intermediate Court: +86-27-65686762Deng Wei (邓玮), judge, Hanyang District Court: +86-27-84586522, +86-18717176081

(More perpetrators’ contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)

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