13 Falun Gong Practitioners Face Illegal Trials, 12 Lawyers Stand Up for Justice
(Minghui.org) After being arrested and detained for nearly a year, 13 Falun Gong practitioners from Dalian City, Liaoning Province, were illegally tried by the Xigang District Court in Dalian.
The trial took place on June 21, 2013. It began at 8:30 a.m. and lasted 12 hours. At 8:30 p.m., the judge announced recess until further notice.
Officials from the Beijing Ministry of Justice, the Liaoning Province Superior Procuratorate and the Liaoning Province Superior Court attended the hearing.
The 13 practitioners on trial were: Mr. Che Zhongshan, Mr. Zhu Chengqian, Mr. Wang Shouchen, Mr. Wang Tao, Mr. She Yue, Mr. Shi Zhanshun, Mr. Pei Zhenbo, Ms. Pan Xiuqing, Ms. Lin Lihong, Ms. Bai Ruyu, Ms. Li Shengjie, Mr. Guo Song, and Mr. Yu Bo. Many of them have been greatly mistreated in detention.
Mr. She was taken to the courthouse from the No. 210 Hospital. Mr. Wang Tao appeared extremely weak; he had to be carried out in the middle of the trial because he was on the verge of collapse. Mr. Che was also in critical condition and kept vomiting during the trial. Ms. Lin looked very weak and had to be held up by others.
Mass Arrest and Torture
The 13 practitioners on trial were among the 79 practitioners arrested on July 6, 2012.
On that date, officers from the Dalian City 610 Office, Domestic Security Division, and Police Department, along with many local police stations and neighborhood committees, carried out a mass arrest of Falun Gong practitioners who installed satellite dishes to receive NTDTV programs broadcasting uncensored news from overseas.
Nearly 100 practitioners were arrested, and their homes were ransacked. Many were illegally detained and subjected to brutal torture.
Ms. Zhang Guilian, 69, from Kaifa District was persecuted to death on August 5, 2012. She was severely tortured at the Dalian City Detention Center.
Mr. Che Zhongshan was also brutally tortured in the Dalian City Detention Center. The guards cuffed his hands and feet to the ground for two months, and tied him to a tiger bench. As a result of the abuse, Mr. Che's condition rapidly deteriorated. He was sent to the hospital for emergency resuscitation three times.
Practitioners Qu Bin and Zhang Guoli were also in critical condition as a result of torture. Ms. Hou Chunli was severely beaten in a detention center, which resulted in kidney damage.
Defense Lawyers Detained and Beaten
The Zhongshan District Court in Dalian City originally planned to hold the trial for the 13 practitioners at 9:30 a.m. on April 12, 2013. However, the night before the trial was supposed to start, defense lawyers received a notice that the court session was canceled.
The following morning, police arrested a large number of practitioners’ family members and other Falun Gong practitioners who had come to attend the hearing.
Two defense lawyers were also arrested and detained. One of them, attorney Cheng Hai, was beaten by police. This incident, referred to as the “Dalian April 12 Incident,” drew concern from all levels of society and gained international attention with reporting by overseas media.
For detailed information about the April 12 incident, please read: Travesty of Justice: Mass Arrests of Falun Gong Practitioners in Dalian City, Lawyer Beaten
Injustice and Underhanded Means
After the April 12 beatings, the defense lawyers filed several charges. As a result, the police did not dare to arrest practitioners in public when the trial was finally held on June 21. However, the flagrant violation of justice was still covertly going on.
Prior to the trial, 12 lawyers came to Dalian City to defend the practitioners. Ten arrived on June 19; the other two arrived the next day.
Before and on the day of the trial, Dalian Police Department dispatched many plainclothes agents to monitor practitioners’ family members and defense lawyers. The police set up secret cameras to monitor the lawyers in the hotel where they were staying, and agents from Domestic Security Division occupied the room next to the lawyers to keep them under surveillance.
Plainclothes police were stationed in cars outside the hotel, watching everyone who left or entered. The nearby restaurants and local airports were also put under surveillance.
On the evening of June 20, police searched the lawyers’ room and harassed them. The lawyers remained calm and undisturbed.
On June 21, the Xigang District Court canceled all trials except for the hearing of the 13 practitioners. Police guarded the courthouse, surrounding it at a radius of 2,000 feet. They interrogated everyone who passed by.
A large number of plainclothes agents and various police vehicles were also on patrol within a three-mile radius. Officers from nearby police stations and neighborhood committees assisted in the monitoring of the area. The police remained at their posts until all upper-level officials left the courthouse in the evening.
Practitioner Wang Shouchen’s wife was unable to attend the trial on April 12 because the police had besieged her home, preventing her from leaving. On the evening of June 20, she noticed police vehicles around her house. In order to avoid being trapped again, she had to stay in a hotel.
On the morning of June 21, prior to the trial, the police arrested practitioners Ms. Dong Xuan and Ms. Liu Xinying who were supposed to drive the defense lawyers to the courthouse. Xiuyue Street Police Station officers took Ms. Liu, from Zhongshan District, into custody at 6:40 a.m. and did not release her until 10:30 p.m.
Ms. Dong, from Malanzi, in her 40s, was arrested around 7 a.m. Her whereabouts are currently unknown. She had been monitored by police for some time prior to the arrest.