(Minghui.org) A 73-year-old woman in Wuhan, Hubei Province, was sentenced to six years in prison for practicing Falun Gong. The Wuhan City Intermediate Court dismissed her appeal to reconsider her case on March 14, 2022.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Arrest and Sentencing
Ms. Zhou Xiuhua was arrested at home at 7 a.m. on July 15, 2020. After taking her and her husband to the police station, the officers spent hours ransacking her home. She was released on a one-year bail on the same day.
The police submitted Ms. Zhou’s case to the Dongxihu District Procuratorate on December 15, 2020. She was charged with “undermining law enforcement using a cult organization,” the standard pretext used to criminalize Falun Gong practitioners. She was formally arrested on January 28, 2021.
The Dongxihu District Procuratorate transferred Ms. Zhou’s case to the Hanyang District Procuratorate on February 18, 2021. She was indicted on June 2 and the Hanyang District Court accepted her case on December 10. The list of items confiscated, which had no officer’s signature or official seal, was included in the prosecution evidence.
Ms. Zhou was tried in a virtual hearing on December 22, 2021. The judge sentenced her to six years with a 7,000-yuan fine the next day.
Since July 2021, Ms. Zhou’s family has been filing complaints against prosecutor Wu Song’en for indicting her without any legal basis. After judge Deng Wei convicted her, they also filed complaints against Deng.
Mr. Zhou’s husband said that when police officer Ruan Hao talked to him on the day of their arrests, he told Ruan some basic information about Ms. Zhou, trying to let him know that she was a good person who had never violated any law by practicing Falun Gong. He didn’t expect Ruan to use his words against Ms. Zhou and list him as a prosecution witness without his knowledge.
When he later applied to be her family defender, judge Deng repeatedly turned him down. He was also followed and monitored by the residential committee staff members when he attended his wife’s hearing and was ordered not to talk.
The husband said that he turned 75 this year and he was hospitalized twice in 2021. He is worried he might not ever see Ms. Zhou again if she is to serve the six-year sentence.
Ms. Zhou appealed with the Wuhan City Intermediate Court. On January 28, 2022, her husband submitted an application to represent her in the appeal case. Court clerk Yang Kuo called him on February 14, claiming that, because he was listed as a witness to her case, he couldn’t be her non-lawyer defender. Yang also said that they weren’t planning to have a hearing of her case, implying that even if he became the defender, he wouldn’t have a chance to present his argument in her defense.
After Ms. Zhou’s husband turned in the letter on February 17 to give up the right to represent her following Yang’s instructions, Yang said they would indeed have a hearing and they would appoint a lawyer for her.
Realizing that he’d been deceived, Ms. Zhou’s husband wrote to judge Zhang Yong on February 21, insisting that his testimony submitted by the police and status as a witness be voided. He also filed a complaint against officer Ruan and hired a lawyer for his wife.
When he didn’t hear back from the judge, he wrote another statement on February 27, withdrawing the decision to give up the right to represent his wife and applying to be her defender again. He kept calling the judge and clerk over the next few days to follow up, but no one ever answered.
When he tried to mail more complaints against the police, prosecutor, and judge of lower court on March 8, the postal workers told him that the police had instructed them not to process his letters because they contained sensitive information about Falun Gong.
The intermediate court ruled to uphold Ms. Zhou’s original sentence on March 14 without a hearing, five days after the lawyer hired by Ms. Zhou’s husband submitted his defense statement.
Yang Yi (杨毅), presiding judge, Wuhan City Intermediate CourtYang Kuo (杨阔), clerk, Wuhan City Intermediate Court: +86-27-65686614Zhang Yong (张勇), judge, Wuhan City Intermediate Court: +86-27-65686762Xu Tingting (许婷婷), judge, Wuhan City Intermediate CourtWu Chenhui (伍晨晖), assistant to the judge, Wuhan City Intermediate CourtWu Songen(吴松恩), prosecutor, Hanyang District ProcuratorateJin Huan (金环), assistant to the prosecutorDeng Wei (邓玮), presiding judge, Hanyang District CourtGao Min (高敏), judge, Hanyang District CourtXia Ying (夏英), judge, Hanyang District CourtCheng Zhiling (程志玲), clerk, Hanyang District CourtZhang Gen (张根), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationHu Jigang (胡继刚), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationRuan Hao (阮浩), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationPeng Jinke (彭金科), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationFeng Chunlei (冯春雷), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationLiu Xiongfei (刘雄飞), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationWang Qiong (王琼), officer, Wujiashanjie Police StationBa Hang (巴航), officer, Wujiashanjie Police Station
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