Sichuan Province: 5 Elderly Women Tried for Their Faith
(Minghui.org) Five Huili County residents were tried for spreading information about Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
The defense lawyers argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, and that their clients were simply exercising their constitutional right to freedom of belief.
The lawyers also refuted the falsified prosecution evidence and demanded acquittal for their clients.
The five women, ages ranging from 60 to 70, remain detained following their arrest on January 30, 2016.
Police Falsify Evidence
Ms. Luo Jiping, Ms. Dong Xiuqiong, Ms. Ma Lingxian, Ms. Shen Jiafeng, and Ms. Zheng Qiong were passing out Falun Gong information in Yundian Town on January 30 when they were arrested.
The local procuratorate twice returned the case to police, first in April and then in June, citing insufficient evidence.
The police then included Falun Gong items confiscated from the practitioners’ homes in the prosecution evidence, which originally consisted of items snatched from the practitioners during their arrest.
The police also falsified additional evidence, claiming that each practitioner had a stack of at least 133 copies of 1-cm-thick brochures with them during the arrest.
Lawyers Refute Evidence
The hearing took place over the course of two days, September 27-28. The practitioners’ lawyers entered not guilty pleas for them.
The prosecutor cited the police evidence as he pressed charges against the practitioners. One of the lawyers did some quick math: if each brochure was 1 centimeter thick, a stack of 133 copies would be 1.33 meters tall. He questioned the prosecutor on how likely it was for a woman in her 60s to be able to hold such a stack of materials, nearly as tall as she was, as she walked around passing them out.
The prosecution didn’t answer the question.
Ms. Ma’s lawyer read aloud a letter that her son wrote to the judge, detailing the persecution’s devastating damage to his mother and himself.
The letter read, “My mother and father divorced when I was little. Mother became plagued with various ailments, as she worked hard to bring me up as a single parent. I was happy when she regained her health after she began to practice Falun Gong.
Her school fired her after she was repeatedly arrested her for faith. Her colleagues and students all looked down at her and me. The school revoked her pension when she was last sentenced to prison. I had just gotten admitted to college at the time, but had to quit due to lack of money.”
Ms. Ma stated that her practice of Falun Gong broke no law or caused harm to anyone. The other four practitioners also defended their own innocence.
The lawyers also read aloud some confiscated materials, which only contained facts about Falun Gong and its persecution. They challenged the prosecutor to pinpoint which part of the content broke any law. The prosecutor had no answer.
The lawyers concluded that their clients should not be imprisoned for exercising their constitutional rights and demanded acquittal.