Lawyers File Complaint Against Court Officials for Allowing Judges to Violate Legal Procedure in Falun Gong Cases
(Minghui.org) Two human rights lawyers representing eight Falun Gong practitioners in two different cases have filed a complaint against two court officials for dereliction.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since July 1999. The eight practitioners were all sentenced to prison by Huili County Court for refusing to renounce their faith. Liangshanzhou Intermediate Court overturned their original verdicts and ordered retrials by the same trial court.
A total of three hearings have been held for the two retrial cases. All three times, the two lawyers were barred from entering the courtroom to defend their clients. The most recent occurrence took place on November 29, 2018, when five of the eight practitioners were scheduled to face the judge during their second hearing in the retrial case. The practitioners were shocked to see a court-appointed lawyer they never approved in the courtroom moments later.
The original lawyers, Mr. Lu Tingge and Mr. Li Xiongbing, are accusing Yang Lupo (president of Huili County Court) and Luo Wen (a vice president of the court) of failing to discipline their judges and conniving with the judges' unlawful deprivation of the lawyers' right to defend their clients.
The Case Against Five Practitioners
Ms. Zheng Qiong, Ms. Luo Jiping, Ms. Ma Lingxian, Ms. Dong Xiuqiong, and Ms. Shen Jiafeng were arrested on January 30, 2016 for distributing Falun Gong materials.
They appeared in Huili County Court in September 2016 and were sentenced to prison three months later. Ms. Ma was given one year and four months. Ms. Zheng, Ms. Luo, and Ms. Dong each received one year, and Ms. Shen was given one year in prison with one year of probation. Each of them was also fined 10,000 yuan.
The five practitioners appealed their cases to the Liangshanzhou Intermediate Court, which ruled on May 27, 2017 to overturn the original verdict and order a retrial.
The first hearing in the retrial case was held on October 26, 2018. After Mr. Lu and Mr. Li passed a security check into the court building, four bailiffs stopped them while they were walking toward the courtroom. The bailiffs demanded the lawyers leave their briefcases behind.
The briefcases contained all the documents that the lawyers had prepared for the retrial. More importantly, no law prohibits defense lawyers from carrying their briefcases into courtrooms. Mr. Lu and Mr. Li protested the bailiffs' unlawful demand and were videotaped by an unidentified person.
When the hearing resumed on November 29, 2018, Mr. Lu and Mr. Li ran into Li Ming, a bailiff who assaulted them while they were representing three other practitioners. The lawyers immediately called the police to have Li Ming removed from the courthouse. They later wrote in their complaint against court presidents Yang and Luo that the officials should not have allowed Li Ming to continue working there.
The lawyers were still not allowed to defend their clients because they refused to turn in their briefcases. Instead, the judge assigned a defense lawyer for the practitioners. When the practitioners saw the new face, they refused to approve him as their defense lawyer. The hearing had to be canceled.
Lawyers Previously Assaulted in Same Court Building
The two lawyers, Mr. Lu and Mr. Li, together with another lawyer, are also representing three other Falun Gong practitioners tried by the same Huili County Court.
Ms. Hua Wanxia, Ms. Cui Deli, and Ms. Zhang Huiqiong were arrested on August 24, 2016 for refusing to renounce Falun Gong.
Their first hearing was held on November 17, 2017. Judge Qiu Yun ordered the three defense lawyers to surrender their laptops and briefcases. The lawyers argued that they could not do their jobs without their laptops and documents and refused to comply with the demand. Qiu immediately ended the hearing.
As the lawyers walked down the stairs, some court bailiffs overheard them discussing filing a complaint against Qiu and pushed them around in retaliation. Mr. Lu began to record the scene and was brutally beaten. His injuries put him in the ICU in the local hospital.
Judge Qiu resumed the hearing on November 30, 2017, while Mr. Lu was still recovering and the other two lawyers were not available. He appointed three new lawyers for the three practitioners, who protested by refusing to answer questions.
Qiu sentenced all three practitioners to prison on December 28, 2017, giving Ms. Cui 3 years and Ms. Hua and Ms. Zhang 3 years and 3 months each.
The practitioners filed appeals with the Liangzhou County Intermediate Court, which ordered a retrial on April 19, 2018.
A hearing in the retrial case was held by Huli County Court on August 16, 2018. Mr. Lu and Mr. Li continued to represent the three practitioners. They were again not allowed to take their laptops and briefcases into the courtroom. When they protested the unlawful request, the presiding judge turned them away.
Related Article in Chinese:四川会理五位老人第三次被非法庭审-律师被阻在外