Woman Wrongfully Convicted for Her Faith, Lawyer Defends Her Right to Freedom of Belief
(Minghui.org) A Chenzhou City resident was sentenced to 7 years in May 2016 for “using a cult to undermine law enforcement,” a standard pretext used by the Chinese communist regime to frame Falun Gong practitioners.
Chenzhou City Intermediate Court heard Ms. Li Jumei’s appeal on August 30. Both she and her lawyer asserted that the trial court failed to provide sound legal basis to indict and convict her.
Ms. Li’s lawyer, Mr. Zhang, first presented evidence attesting to the fact that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. He questioned how the trial court charged his client with using a cult, when she spread information about Falun Gong, a lawful practice.
Mr. Zhang next emphasized that his client should never have been prosecuted for exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief. Ms. Li had been repeatedly incarcerated in the past for refusing to renounce her faith. Her husband, Mr. Guo Huisheng, also a Falun Gong practitioner, lost his life to police brutality two months after he and Ms. Li were arrested in August 2009.
Ms. Li was also severely injured by police following that 2009 arrest. She filed a criminal complaint against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin for initiating the persecution of Falun Gong that resulted in her husband’s death and her injuries in June 2015. She was soon arrested again on October 23 and sentenced 7 months later.
Mr. Zhang continued by arguing that the prosecution evidence used in the initial trial, including Ms. Li’s Falun Gong books and informational materials promoting Falun Gong, was her lawful possessions. Those confiscated items posed no harm to anyone or society at large, let alone undermine law enforcement.
The judge adjourned the hearing without issuing a verdict.