(Minghui.org) A 60-year-old woman in Qiqihar City was sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan for spreading information about the Chinese communist regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline based on the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Ms. Qu Shurong was arrested in late 2015 and first appeared in court on October 9, 2016. Her lawyer argued that no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong and that his client was merely exercising her constitutional right to freedom of belief and freedom of the press.

The lawyer also argued against the prosecution evidence obtained through torture of his client, and the presiding judge agreed that the evidence was inadmissible.

Even though the judge later decided to dismiss the case, his ruling was overridden by the local Political and Legal Affairs Committee, a non-judicial organization tasked with carrying out orders from the Chinese Communist Party's central leadership to eradicate Falun Gong in China.

Under the orders of the PLAC, the local authorities kept pressing Ms. Qu’s case forward, despite her family’s repeated pleas to have her released.

Ms. Qu’s daughter received 8 phone calls from the local detention center on January 23, 2017. She was told that her mother was exhibiting severe symptoms of a heart ailment and high blood pressure. The local police, the procuratorate, and the court, however, declined to grant her medical parole.

Ms. Qu was brought to court again on April 7, 2017. Her lawyer questioned whether it was considered a retrial or a new hearing of the existing trial. By law, a new hearing in an existing trial must be conducted within two months of the initial hearing, and a retrial must be conducted as soon as an initial investigation period has passed.

The lawyer argued that the deadlines for either had passed, and that the court had violated legal procedures. The new judge assigned to the case couldn’t offer an explanation and adjourned the session.

Ms. Qu was made to appear in court a third time on April 21. The judge delivered a guilty verdict against her on May 4. She is now appealing her case to the Qiqihar Intermediate Court.

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