Defense Lawyers File Complaints against Court Officials for Interfering with Their Legal Representation
(Minghui.org) More than 30 Falun Gong practitioners in Jilin City were detained last October in a new wave of arrests. The practitioners' defense lawyers allege that court officials used illegal means to prevent them from carrying out their work.
When the lawyers went to submit official documents, a court official turned them away. A judge then denied them access to case files. Court officials also tried to force practitioners and their family members to dismiss their lawyers by threatening to delay the trial indefinitely and thereby extend their detention.
These illegal threats are common among cases involving Falun Gong practitioners, as the Chinese regime uses the Party-controlled court system to imprison practitioners as part of its violent persecution campaign.
Frustrated with the court's actions, lawyer Li Guopei, who represents practitioner Ms. Deng Xiaobo, filed a formal complaint with two local Procuratorates and the Jilin City Intermediate People's Court on December 25, 2013. The complaint named two case officers involved, Fu Wenzhong and Liu Guangbin.
Despite the formal complaint, local court officials continued their interference with the defense lawyers' legal representation. In response, two more lawyers involved with the case recently filed complaints.
New Complaint Filed Against Court Officials
Lawyers Ms. Wang Yu and Mr. Tang Tianhao, who represent Ms. Deng Xiaobo and Mr. Li Dequan, respectively, went to Changyi District Court on August 15 and asked to read the case files. They were turned away and told that officers were either in a meeting or attending to other matters.
The lawyers waited until the meeting ended, but they were then informed that they were not allowed to handle the case because their licenses were issued outside Jilin Province. However, the Lawyers Law of China allows licensed lawyers to practice law without geographical restrictions.
The lawyers then reported the court's illegal conduct to the Changyi District Procuratorate, which has supervisory responsibility over the district court. However, a Procuratorate official told the lawyers that he had “orders from above” not to accept such complaints.
Left with no choice, the lawyers wrote a complaint letter addressed to Xie Maotian, the head of Changyi District Procuratorate, voicing their concern for the judicial organ's blatant disregard for the law.
Court Officials Tried to Force Practitioners and Families to Dismiss Lawyers
Court officials not only interfered with the defense lawyers' review of case files, but also attempted to force the practitioners and their families to dismiss their lawyers.
Case officer Fu Wenzhong tried to pressure Ms. Deng Xiaobo into firing her lawyer in March, threatening to delay the trial and thereby keep her detained indefinitely. Fu promised to replace her lawyer free of charge, but Ms. Deng declined out of concern that the appointed lawyer would not defend her innocence.
In July, case officer Li Jianshan summoned Mr. Li Dequan's family to his office and offered to provide another lawyer at no cost if they dismissed their own. Officer Li promised to hold the trial immediately and said that Mr. Li would most likely receive a reduced sentence of 7-15 years. Mr. Li's family refused the deal.