(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Li Lixin and Ms. Lu Shuying, from Tianjin, were tried by the Hongqiao District Court on April 19, 2017, after being illegally detained for over six months. Ms. Li's attorney Li Duilong and Ms. Lu's attorney Guo Haiyue pleaded not guilty on behalf of their clients.

Ms. Li and Ms. Lu were reported to the authorities for handing out Falun Gong fliers at Qianlidi, Hongqiao District Tianjin on October 27, 2016. They were arrested and taken to the Hongqiao District Detention Center by police officers from the Xianyangbei Road Police Station.

The public prosecutor did not use the police interrogation records for evidence at the trial. Instead, he presented the testimony of three persons at the scene when the practitioners were arrested, including the person who had reported the practitioners. The prosecutor also used personal belongings confiscated by the police as evidence.

The two attorneys who defended the practitioners pointed out that freedom of belief is a citizen's fundamental right, as stipulated by China's constitution and the World Declaration of Human Rights. Furthermore, no existing Chinese law states that Falun Gong is illegal.

Ms. Li and Ms. Lu declared their innocence and stated that believing in Falun Gong's principles and teachings is not a crime. They spoke of how they greatly benefited from Falun Gong, both physically and mentally.

A lot of people who were concerned about the case gathered outside the courthouse. Many plainclothes officers monitored the scene and drove people away. When they saw a car parked nearby with people inside, they immediately surrounded the car and asked for their identification (ID) cards. The driver asked the police for their IDs. After that, the police did not force the issue.

Ms. Lu Shuying's attorney visited her on October 27, 2016 at the Hongqiao Detention Center and was told that she refused to perform labor, or be on night duty, as ordered by the guards. Additionally, she refused a physical exam, as well as having a blood sample taken. Therefore, the police deprived her of sleep and bathroom privileges.

Ms. Li Lixin refused to confess to any crime when interrogated by the police. Police from the Xianyangbei Road Police Station took some materials, including photos to Ms. Li's husband for signature. He was not allowed to read the text to verify the contents, but did sign the documents.

Later, after consulting with his wife's attorney, he realized that the police actions contravened legal procedures and criminal proceedings. He immediately wrote a statement denouncing his signature and emphasized that since he had been misled by the police his signature is not legal.

Ms. Li's husband submitted his denouncement to the Hongqiao District Court and asked the court to hold the officers from the Hongqiao District Police Department and Xianyangbei Road Police Station accountable for violating laws and regulations.

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