(Minghui.org) Five Falun Gong practitioners were illegally sentenced to five years in prison by the Yichun City Intermediate Court, Jiangxi Province, on September 10, 2015. They were arrested on February 24, 2015 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong and for talking to people about the persecution of the spiritual practice.

The five practitioners are Ms. Jiang Lanying, Ms. Chen Xiaojuan, Ms. Xiong Quanmei, Ms. Mei Yufeng, and Mr. Wang Honghua.

The three defense attorneys pleaded not guilty to the charge of “sabotaging law enforcement” and argued that distributing fliers about Falun Gong and the persecution is not a crime.

During the trial, the prosecutor interrupted the attorneys multiple times and tried to have them removed from the proceedings.

“My defense of my clients is legal. To have me removed is illegal,” said one of the attorneys.

Defendant Ms. Jiang said, “The freedom of belief is my right. To distribute fliers about Falun Gong is to let people who are deceived learn the truth. I did not commit any crime. I am innocent.”

Ms. Mei, 70, exposed the abuse she suffered in a detention center. Mr. Wang was also tortured and beaten during his six-month detention before the trial.

The judge sentenced Ms. Jiang Lanying to 3.5 years in prison and the other four practitioners to 3 years each.

Defendants Previously Imprisoned, Held in Labor Camps

Four of the five practitioners had previously been imprisoned for their belief:

Ms. Jiang was imprisoned for five years and twice detained in labor camps for a total of four years.

Ms. Chen was imprisoned for three years and twice sent to forced labor for a total of more than five years.

Ms. Xiong was given three years of forced labor.

Ms. Mei was sent to forced labor twice, for a total of over three years.

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