Falun Gong Practitioner Presumed Guilty Before Trial and Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison
(Minghui.org) A Fushun City resident was presumed guilty before her trial and sentenced to three years in prison after two hearings.
Ms. Song Xia was arrested on May 11, 2017, for talking to people about Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditation practice being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
The presiding judge threatened to sentence Ms. Song to 3-7 years even before the trial began. Despite the threat, Ms. Song asked her lawyer to enter a not-guilty plea for her, as no law in China criminalizes Falun Gong.
She appeared in court on February 26, 2018. Only her immediate family members were allowed to attend the trial, and her other relatives were blocked outside by Cao Yuchun, a plainclothes officer, and a bailiff with badge number 213825.
Ms. Song's lawyer requested that her handcuffs and shackles be removed. The judge only allowed her handcuffs to be taken off.
When the hearing continued on April 11, her lawyer again defended her constitutional right to freedom of belief. Ms. Song also testified in her own defense and shared how Falun Gong had cured her severe tracheitis and enabled her to enjoy life.
It was learned on May 18 that Ms. Song had been sentenced to 3 years in prison.
This is not the first time that she has been targeted for her faith. She and her mother, also a Falun Gong practitioner, were each given 3 years in prison after they were arrested on March 22, 2006. She was brutally tortured during her first imprisonment and almost had a mental breakdown.