Woman Given 1.5 Years for Her Faith in Falun Gong, Never-before-mentioned Witness Included in Judgment of Conviction
(Minghui.org) Ms. Chai Shuzhen was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for her faith in Falun Gong. A third witness, who had never been mentioned in her indictment or two court hearings, was listed in the judgment for conviction.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a mind-body tradition that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Ms. Chai, 70 and a Qianxi County, Hebei Province resident, was arrested the 10th time for her faith in Falun Gong on July 12, 2019 after being reported for talking to people about it.
Two witnesses were mentioned during her two hearings at Zunhua City Court, first on October 9 and then on October 22, 2019.
The prosecutor claimed that the first witness, Li Xiaoming, a sales associate at a pharmacy, saw Ms. Chai passing out informational materials about Falun Gong outside the store. But Ms. Chai's lawyer learned that Li had only heard from a customer that an elderly woman was arrested for passing out Falun Gong information and that Li couldn’t confirm whether it was Ms. Chai.
Li was not in court to accept cross examination.
The other witness, Fu Rongyan, was mentioned in the indictment but there was no ID information provided. Ms. Chai's lawyer questioned how the prosecutor could use such a witness, with an unknown identity, against his client.
The judge sentenced Ms. Chai to 1.5 years in prison with a 4,000 yuan fine on November 15, 2019.
In the judgment for conviction, Ms. Chai’s lawyer noticed that a third witness, Zhang Mingfang, who was never mentioned by the prosecutor during the court hearings, was listed in the document.
The document stated that Zhang worked at the same pharmacy as Li and that she saw Ms. Chai passing out Falun Gong information on the day of her arrest. Ms. Chai’s lawyer argued that it was against the law to add additional prosecution evidence after the hearings without his knowledge, and that such uncorroborated evidence shouldn’t be included in the final verdict.
Ms. Chai vowed to appeal her sentence.
Ms. Chai’s latest arrest came only seven months following an earlier arrest on December 28, 2018. She was released soon after being rejected for admission at the detention center due to her high blood pressure.