Defense Lawyers' Rebuttal to Trumped up Charges Renders Judge and Prosecutor Speechless
(Minghui.org) Four defense lawyers representing six Zhuozhou residents pleaded not guilty on their behalf at a recent trial. They delivered convincing arguments that rendered the judge and prosecutor speechless.
In rebuttal to the charges that their clients used a cult organization to sabotage law enforcement, the attorneys argued for the legality of Falun Gong and their clients' constitutional right to believe in Falun Gong and tell people about the persecution of the practice by the Chinese Communist regime.
The lawyers also listed violations of legal procedure by the police and court officials. Unable to refute these facts, the judge adjourned the trial without issuing a verdict.
When the practitioners' families called the judge two months later demanding their loved ones' unconditional release, they were shocked to learn that the case had been forwarded to the intermediate court without their knowledge.
Practitioners Have Every Right to Practice and Promote Falun Gong
The six wrongfully accused practitioners are Mr. Dong Hanjie, Ms. Gao Chunlian, Mr. Wang Yun, Mr. Zhang Haiyang, Mr. Ge Zhijun and Ms. Dong Junhong. They were represented by attorneys Mr. Zhang Chuanli, Mr. Zhang Junjie, Ms. Hu Guiyun and Mr. Lan Zhixue at the trial on July 31, 2014.
When the prosecutor charged he practitioners with using a cult to sabotage law enforcement, the lawyers challenged him to specify which law their clients had allegedly undermined.
The prosecutor had no answer to the question. Judge Pei Yan tried to stop the lawyers, but they stated it was their legal right to defend their clients in court.
The lawyers pointed out that it was the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security that established the definition of cults, which the prosecution was attempting to use. It is not within these organizations' jurisdiction to make that determination. The State Council is an administrative office, and the Ministry of Public Security is an enforcement agency, not a legislative body.
The lawyers emphasized that China's law-making body, the People's Congress, never issued any law banning Falun Gong. As such, their clients' practice of Falun Gong broke no law and was simply an exercise of their constitutional right to freedom of belief.
The judge and the prosecutor were at a loss for words and had no rebuttal.
Police and Court Violate Legal Procedures
The defense lawyers also pointed out numerous violations of legal procedures throughout the process of arrests, detention and hearing.
The practitioners' families were initially told that all of them could attend the hearing if they wished, but only two family members per practitioner were allowed into the courtroom amidst the tight security with fully armed police officers everywhere.
As soon as the trial began, Mr. Lan Zhixue discovered that the prosecutor was an assistant judge, who by law cannot serve as an independent prosecutor. When Mr. Lan objected, Judge Pei ignored him and gestured for the hearing to continue.
Mr. Zhang Chuanli stressed in his defense argument that the police never showed any identification or search warrant when they showed up to arrest his client Mr. Dong Hanjie.
The police confiscated Mr. Dong's driver’s license, household registration book, electric bicycle, and other valuables. These items were used as “criminal evidence” against him. However, there were different times written down for when the same item was confiscated. Moreover, the signatures purported to be from the same person showed markedly different handwriting styles.
Mr. Lan Zhixue concluded, “The facts show that the police searched and arrested our clients without a warrant. They falsified evidence and fabricated charges against our clients. Our clients broke no law. It's the law enforcement agencies that are committing crimes and undermining the legal process.” His argument drew enthusiastic applause from the practitioners' family members.
The court bailiffs tried to stop the applause by threatening to kick the family members out of the courtroom. Judge Pei was noticeably flustered and accused Mr. Lan of disturbing court order. Mr. Lan responded that he was merely exercising his right to defend his clients' innocence.
The lawyers urged Judge Pei to acquit their clients, but she adjourned the trial without issuing a verdict. When the family called her on September 10, they learned that she had forwarded the case to a higher court.