Lawyers: “My Clients Were Tried on Trumped-up Charges”
(Minghui.org) After more than eight months of arbitrary detention, a married couple from Shizuishan City were tried on August 11, 2016 for their faith.
Mr. Wang Desheng and his wife Ms. Shan Jining both practice Falun Gong and were charged with “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime to frame Falun Gong practitioners.
Their two attorneys entered not-guilty pleas for the couple. They argued that the charges against their clients were clearly trumped-up.
The lawyers pointed out that no Chinese law criminalizes Falun Gong, and their clients were simply exercising their constitutional right of spiritual belief. There was no evidence that the couple violated any law or impeded the enforcement of law.
The lawyers further questioned the legitimacy of the evidence, as the witnesses failed to appear and the prosecutor failed to exhibit the evidence used to charge the couple.
Mr. Wang testified that the police interrogated and tortured him in order to extract evidence.
Only eight of the couple’s relatives were allowed to attend the trial. The rest of the 40 plus seats in the gallery were taken up by government officials. Two cameras videotaped the entire court proceedings. Some police stood guard at the entrance of the courtroom.
The No-show Witness and Burnt Evidence
During cross-examination, Mr. Zhao, one of the defense lawyers, questioned the validity of the evidence.
He pointed out that the indictment indicated 11 people testified that they received Falun Gong related materials from the couple, but only two names were listed on the document. The prosecutor remained silent when asked to bring forward all the 11 witnesses to testify during the trial.
The lawyers also requested the prosecutor to exhibit the evidence they collected against the couple. The prosecutor responded that those were banned materials and couldn't be shown during the trial. The lawyers countered that no law ever ruled that Falun Gong materials were illegal or banned. The prosecutor then responded that the witnesses burned the materials.
The lawyers also raised questions about the inconsistency of listed evidence in the indictment and case documents, and that the procuratorate authenticated evidence through an internal agency, which lacked independence and impartiality. The prosecutor didn't respond.
Mr. Wang revealed during the trial that officers from the Domestic Security Office had interrogated him with torture to try to extract “confessions” from him.
He said the officers tied him on the tiger bench for six days in the police station. Several people took turns monitoring him. They didn't allow him to sleep, limited his food and water intake, and denied him restroom use.
Afterwards, the officials took him to the Shizuishan police dog training base. He was tied to the tiger bench again and wasn't allowed to sleep for ten days. “It was really terrifying to have so many police dogs in front of me. If a trainer gave the signal, the dogs would throw me to the ground.”
Ms. Shan also testified that she was beaten on multiple occasions because she refused to cooperate with the police during interrogation.
Trial Manipulated by 610 Office
Mid-trial a police officer associated with the 610 Office suddenly approached the bench and whispered to presiding judge Li Zhijun for a few minutes. After he left, Li seemed to be on alert and he interrupted Mr. Wang's self-defense.
When it was another lawyer's turn to talk, Judge Li even attempted to forbid him from talking. Three bailiffs walked in front of him and intimidated him. The lawyer strongly argued against it.
The lawyer was finally allowed three minutes to talk. He emphasized once again that no law even banned Falun Gong and his clients' freedom of belief should be protected.
He stated that the trial itself was illegal and warned that the court officials, who tried his innocent clients today, would be brought to justice themselves in the future. Judge Li once again interrupted the lawyer's defense.
Ms. Shan also briefly defended herself and advised the court officials and prosecutor to stop their participation in the persecution.
Mr. Wang and Ms. Shan were arrested last November because they practice Falun Gong. This is not the first time that they were targeted for their faith. Ms. Shan was twice given forced labor and once sentenced to prison, having spent more than a decade incarcerated. Mr. Wang was imprisoned for eight years.
Perpetrators' contact information:
Li Jianguo (黎建国), head of police department in Dawukou District: +86-18995229777Jing Ping (景平), head of Domestic Security Division: +86-13995060836Yang Qing (杨青), deputy head of Domestic Security Division: +86-15009520280Tian Fengmei (田丰美), officer at Shizuishan Police Station: +86-18995280087Yang Peigang (杨培刚), officer at Shizuishan 610 Office: +86-13909569182
(More perpetrators' contact information is available in the original Chinese article.)