Court Suspected of Drugging Defendants During Trial
(Minghui.org) Two Falun Gong practitioners showed symptoms of delirium and behaved erratically during their trial in Aimin District Court in Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province. Family members suspect that they had been drugged by the authorities.
Mr. Zhang Yutang (张玉堂) and Mr. Guan Ri'an (关日安) were retried on February 13 after the Intermediate People's Court of Mudanjiang overturned the verdict handed down in a secret trial in the Aimin District Court.
Even though Mr. Zhang was in a wheelchair, both men appeared mentally sound when they entered the courtroom on the morning of February 13.
Slurred Speech and Severe Headache after a Drink of Water
When Mr. Zhang was reading his statement to the court, the presiding judge, Ji Ming, had someone give him a glass of water. Ten minutes later, Mr. Zhang's speech became slurred. He held his head in his hands in agony. He told the judges that his head hurt terribly and that his hands and feet felt stiff.
Judge Ji Ming summoned a medic, who gave Mr. Zhang a cursory exam and declared that he was fit to continue. “Are you trying to kill me!” Mr. Zhang said, writhing in pain. “My client is obviously not fit to stand trial right now. Don't you have any humanity?” Mr. Zhang's lawyer protested in vain.
Outraged, Mr. Zhang's wife stood up in the audience and complained loudly about how her husband was being treated. As she was dragged out of the courtroom by several court marshals, Mr. Zhang showed no emotion and appeared not to see or hear anything throughout the commotion.
According to Mrs. Zhang, her husband would have never remained silent when she was treated with such violence. She suspects that something had been put into the water he drank.
Mr. Guan Ri'an, who appeared completely normal in the morning session, was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair in the afternoon. His head lolled to one side and he did not respond to any question either the prosecutor or his lawyer put to him. He seemed almost unconscious.
The judge declared that, by not answering the questions, Mr. Guan was admitting his guilt.
Mr. Guan's lawyer protested and asked that Mr. Guan get medical attention. The medic again came in and declared that Mr. Guan was fine.
After the lawyer called out Mr. Guan's name for over ten minutes. Mr. Guan finally woke up, obviously confused. He asked, “Where is this place? Why am I here? Is this a courtroom? Where are my lawyers?” He got louder and louder and started losing control. Finally he screamed at the judge, “You have no right to keep me from hiring two defense lawyers.” He could be heard throughout the building for over ten minutes.
The judge ordered Mr. Guan to be taken out the courtroom. Ten minutes later, Mr. Guan was brought back in and appeared unusually quiet.
According Mr. Guan's wife, Mr. Guan had remained clear-headed throughout his detention even though he had a stomach problem. It is unlikely he would fall asleep during his own trial. She believes that Mr. Guan was drugged.
The trial continued on February 15.
Mr. Zhang and Mr. Guan were arrested in April 2014 for practicing Falun Gong. They were secretly tried and sentenced in Aimin District Court in June 2014. The verdict was overturned by the Intermediate People's Court of Mudanjiang after their lawyers found out about it and appealed.
When the case was sent back to Aimin District Court to be retried in September, court officials denied the defense lawyers access to case files and prevented them from meeting with their clients. The court did not even notify the two other lawyers the families had hired to handle the retrial.
Both practitioners developed serious health issues in the detention center. At the time of trial, Mr. Zhang was still being hospitalized for symptoms of stroke, and Mr. Guan was hospitalized for five days for severe stomach pain in January 2015.
Participants in the Persecution of Mr. Guan and Mr. Zhang:
Lu Juncheng (卢俊成), director, Aimin District Court: +86-453-8909988, +86-13836396888Ji Ming (季明), deputy director, Aimin District Court: +86-453-8909459, +86-13704838909Jiang Bingbing(姜冰冰), judge: +86-13945325888, +86-13384530036, +86-453-8909485