Special to the Epoch Times

Aug 29, 2006

SINGAPORE--In a miniscule room, tucked away in the furthest corner of the Subordinate Court, a trial of remarkable human rights interest got underway today. The accused are two Falun Gong practitioners who were peacefully protesting outside of the Chinese Embassy on July 20th; exercising their democratic right to practice their freedom of belief. Their protest consisted of displaying a banner bearing in Chinese the words, "7.20 - Stop the inhumane persecution of Falun Gong in China." (The persecution of Falun Gong in China started on July 20, 1999.)

This statement is allegedly 'insulting' and is 'harassing the Chinese Communist Party' and these are the allegations that resulted in the protesters' arrests.

Trial Treated Differently--Overseas Influence?
From the outset of the trial today, an inordinate number of police restricted court access to anyone who was not a witness or a family member of the defendants. Initially foreign press was also not allowed access as local press went straight through.

The feeling among the many interested parties waiting outside the court--some who had traveled from overseas; Australia, UK and Hong Kong to name a few countries--was that Courtroom 36 was deliberately chosen so as to restrict access and restrict public visibility.

Prior to the trial truly getting underway it was made apparent that the prosecution witnesses were present in the courtroom when the defendant's witnesses were not, thus undermining correct judicial procedure.

One such motion of serious contention was that a VCD containing footage to be submitted as evidence for the prosecution was denied to the defense due to fears that it might be made available to the public via the Internet and other channels. This raises the question: why does the prosecution fear this footage reaching the public domain?

Defense lawyer M Ravi put forward several impassioned motions outlining the various discrepancies surrounding the trials circumstances, suggesting a miscarriage of justice. All these motions were denied.

He also stated that article12 of the constitution--(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law--had been breached and that the AGC is deliberately targeting Falun Gong practitioners under pressure from the government and Beijing.

73-year-old Defendant Ordered Deported Prior to Trial
One such example of this discrimination is clearly evident in the case of Chen Peiyu. Chen Peiyu, one of the three arrested, was finally able to attend the trial after an unusual series of events.

Chen Peiyu, a 73-year-old lady, who had been handcuffed and detained in July 2005 for handing out leaflets, was abducted by Immigration officials on the 10th of August 2006 prior to the trial set for the 28th of August 2006.

Plainclothes police and Immigration officials approached her while she was shopping, asked her name, which she gave, and then requested her passport. She refused and instead offered a duplicate copy of her passport. They then forcibly carried her to a car and drove her to the immigration office. Her green card was then revoked without explanation and she was told she had 7 days to leave the country. She had to conclude her affairs and be gone by the 17th of August.

Defense lawyer M. Ravi issued a letter to Immigration on the 14th of August explaining that Chen was required to attend trial on the 28th and couldn't leave Singapore.

On the 16th August police then hand-delivered a notice requesting that Chen appear in court on the 17th. On the 17th of August after a very short hearing charges against her were dropped, allowing immigration to continue deportation proceedings.

Immigration then informed her that she must leave on the 21st of August, as she was no longer required for trial. On the 21st she traveled to Batang but was refused entry and had to return to Singapore. After talking with their superiors, immigration officials granted her an extension till the 22nd August. On the 22nd Chen traveled to Malaysia.

She was later subpoenaed as a witness for the trial by defense lawyer M. Ravi and granted permission to return for one day, to attend trial on the 28th.

This raises the question of why officials went to such trouble to prevent a 73-year-old lady from attending a trial, a lady who has committed no apparent crime, an elderly woman arrested for passing out leaflets.

Chen, who practices Falun Gong, believes she was targeted after visiting Chinese officials put pressure on the Singapore Government to crack down on Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is an exercise and meditation practice which cultivates the universal principle of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It was banned in China by former premier Jiang Zemin in 1999 when it became too popular. Since then many thousands have been tortured or killed and hundreds of thousands sent to labor camps without trial for practicing the exercises and principles.

Recent reports exposed that the abhorrent practice of organ harvesting was widespread in China with Hospitals and Military profiting from organ transplantation, where organs were obtained from live Falun Gong practitioners. In a press conference held in Melbourne Australia at the Sir Thomas Moore Centre last week Edward Macmillan-Scott the Vice President of the European Parliament called it nothing short of genocide.