(Minghui.org) A Shenzhen resident was sentenced to four years in prison for refusing to renounce Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.

Ms. Xiong Wenfang, in her 50s, has filed an appeal against her sentence. Her 79-year-old mother, Ms. Shen Xiurong, is also seeking justice for her. Ms. Shen filed a complaint against officer Zuo Zhiliang, prosecutors Wang Zaixin and Xu Qiaoli, and judge Zheng Xiaotao, accusing all of them of dereliction of duty.

Police Search Private Residence Without Warrant

Ms. Xiong was home on the night of October 30, 2016 when officer Zuo Zhiliang and a dozen other policemen came to knock on her door. They threatened to call a locksmith if she didn’t open the door. As soon as she let them in, they began to search her home, without producing any ID or search warrant. They confiscated her Falun Gong books and arrested her and her daughter.

Ms. Xiong’s daughter was released one month later, but she lost her job as a result of her detention. She also had to live away from home to avoid harassment from police and the local street office.

Prosecutors Issue Indictment Without Legal Basis

Ms. Xiong hired a well-known rights lawyer, Mr. Fan Biaowen, to defend her constitutional right to freedom of belief, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.

Mr. Fan traveled hundreds of miles to visit Ms. Xiong at Luohu Detention Center in late January 2017. He was initially barred outside, but was later let in after he protested to the detention center director. He, however, was not allowed to talk about Falun Gong with his client.

The Luohu Procuratorate interrogated Ms. Xiong hours after Mr. Fan left and soon forwarded her case to the local court. Prosecutors Wang Zaixin and Xu Qiaoli were responsible for issuing the indictment against Ms. Xiong.

Judge Holds Trial Without Informing Lawyer

Ms. Xiong’s trial date was set for February 13, and the court officials only informed her daughter of the hearing. They threatened her to not tell her family and Mr. Fan about the session.

The daughter wasn’t able to find Mr. Fan’s phone number until the night before the hearing. By then, it was too late for Mr. Fan to get to Shenzhen in time.

Ms. Xiong testified in her own defense during the trial. Judge Zheng Xiaotao sentenced her to prison on June 15.