Hiring Lawyers to Defend Practitioners
(Minghui.org) A small group of us got involved in trying to help rescue Falun Dafa practitioners who had been illegally arrested and detained in another city. That was in 2015.
We gained some knowledge of the legal process through the experience, and learned that it is also a great way to clarify the facts to those in the legal profession and the judicial system.
From then on, we always paid special attention to articles on the Minghui website that spoke of how Dafa practitioners engaged in such projects in other places in China.
This experience seemed to be arranged for us to learn the ropes so that we could help a local practitioner who got arrested in 2016. From then on, my husband and I began to participate in efforts to rescue practitioners.
We have been involved in six cases to date, and have hired several lawyers over the last three years. We've had successes and there have been bitter lessons learned. When we seemed lost and didn’t know what to do, we studied the Fa more, and Master Li (the founder of Dafa) guided us through.
Only Option: Not Guilty Plea
Before hiring a lawyer we needed to talk to them extensively about Falun Dafa, and only hire those who agree to enter a “not guilty” plea for practitioners. These lawyers usually have a very strong sense of justice and social responsibility.
We met with our first lawyer in 2016. He already knew about Falun Dafa and had read Master Li Hongzhi's lectures.
This lawyer represented a practitioner, a retired teacher, in court and pleaded “not guilty” for her. But then he argued the case for a sentence reduction with the judge, saying, “There is no law that says practicing Falun Dafa is a crime, and thus my client is not guilty. Since my elderly client has devoted her life to educating students, I hope the judge can consider a sentence reduction for her.”
Some practitioners who attended the trial questioned why the lawyer had asked for a reduced sentence. The lawyer said that he felt very sorry for the practitioner and that he felt that to argue for a sentence reduction might be a better solution.
We could see that he was trying to get the practitioner released as soon as possible, but our understanding was that arguments for any sentence reduction contradict the fact that the practitioner had not committed a crime.
We realized that this might be a fundamental block for other lawyers too, and realized that it is important for us to communicate the key issues to the lawyer, and reach a consensus before proceeding with the case.
My husband and I wrote an article that was later published on the Chinese Minghui website. The article suggested that defense lawyers should only enter a “not guilty” plea when defending Falun Dafa practitioners. To argue for a sentence reduction is a compromise. We clearly know that we should stick to our faith, never compromise with the evil, and that we should completely negate the old forces’ arrangements.
Many officials still believe that they can persecute practitioners at will, and so they continue to commit wrongdoings, fabricating evidence, and try to frame practitioners. If defense lawyers can expose these violations that seriously undermined law enforcement, it would help all those involved to see the evil nature of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and awaken people’s sense of justice.
Those in law enforcement and the judicial system have been deeply deceived by the CCP’s lies and propaganda. They dare to do bad things because they are pressured or lured by personal interests. Unbeknownst to them is the fact that they are also victims of the communist regime.
As Falun Gong practitioners we should hold righteous thoughts and righteous actions, cooperate well with lawyers, and bring the facts to light. Hopefully, more people will be awakened, recognize the misleading propaganda, and choose a bright future instead of continuing to persecute Falun Dafa practitioners. This is our fundamental purpose in hiring lawyers to defend arrested practitioners.
They must understand that we want to expose all violations to the law and legal procedures that have been committed. Hence, we should make it clear to the defense lawyers that a “not guilty” plea is the only way forward.
Lawyers Play Important Role
It is important to know the important role that lawyers play throughout the rescue process.
Intermediary with Detained Practitioners
First, we can communicate with the detained practitioners through the lawyers so as to reinforce their righteous thoughts.
A practitioner was arrested in 2018. During the five months before the court trial, the lawyer was able to meet with her eight times. Every time I prepared a letter, and asked the lawyer to read it to her during their meeting - some of the letters were Master's Fa teachings.
After the detained practitioner was released, she told us that our communications truly helped to reinforce her righteous thoughts.
Help to Clarify the Facts
We always respect the lawyers and the work they do and try to assist them in any way we can.
Some lawyers clarify the facts to those working in the public security, Procuratorate, and the courts whom they have contact with during the case.
We hired a lawyer to represent an elderly practitioner who was arrested in 2017. The lawyer called the prosecutor and insisted that they meet her face to face. It is important to note that most prosecutors refuse to meet with the defense lawyers representing Falun Dafa practitioners.
The lawyer spoke cordially with the prosecutor during their meeting, helping her to feel more relaxed. Both parties continued the talk in a friendly manner. The lawyer explained a lot about Falun Dafa to her, and the conversation was very successful.
During court proceedings, the prosecutor repudiated the case twice, and the elderly practitioner was eventually released.
Exposing Violations of the Law
During a court trial against a practitioner in 2018, the defense lawyer first entered a “not guilty” plea. He then methodically went through the violations committed by those in law enforcement and the judicial system in regards to the case.
The lawyer also pointed out that the person who filed the prosecution in the court was a court clerk whom he knew, and was not the public prosecutor the court previously stated. This really embarrassed the court staff.
The judge, who refused to meet with the lawyer before the trial, set up a meeting with the lawyer afterward. The lawyer took the opportunity to tell the judge about Falun Dafa. As a result, the judges and public prosecutors, who had originally planned to sentence the practitioner to two to three years of imprisonment, decided to shorten the term to ten months.
Looking After the Lawyers
We must not lose sight of the fact that we don't just pay lawyers and hire them. We also need to save them.
We hired a lawyer for a case in 2016, whom we had worked with before. He charged almost twice as much as before, saying that the price needed to be increased.
I discussed the issue with my husband. We realized that the lawyers were under a lot of pressure, and therefore felt it necessary to increase the price. But in the same respect, these lawyers had made vows in past lives to assist Dafa practitioners in this way.
“If an ordinary person can do Dafa disciples' things during this time when Dafa disciples are persecuted, this person will become a divine being for sure, even though he is an ordinary person who hasn't cultivated.” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)
Now it is our supreme glory to help Dafa disciples--it is not just the case of money. To agree to pay them far in excess of the normal rate meant that it could actually be harmful to them as they would be taking more of Dafa's resources (money) than they would normally charge. Also, if we always had to pay higher fees, then practitioners with fewer finances available may not be able to afford the costs.
Dafa resources should not be wasted. So we insisted on paying that lawyer the original agreed on price.
We were looking into hiring a lawyer from another city in 2017. We heard a lot about this particular lawyer – some positive and some negative. So we decided to travel to his city to meet him. We found that he had a good understanding of Dafa and wanted to help, but insisted on doing things his way.
We decided to hire him, and drove to the airport to collect him on a stormy December night. We waited at the airport for a long time, as his plane was diverted to another city because of the bad weather. He urged us to go home and said that he would wait to see if the plane would take off again later. It did, and when he finally landed in our city, he was so moved to see us waiting for him.
He put a lot of effort into the case and did a great job defending the practitioner.
Reflecting on the Process
We practitioners have worked together tirelessly on each lawsuit over these past few years.
Some practitioners were responsible for mailing truth-clarification materials to those in law enforcement, while others put up informational stickers in the surrounding areas informing people of the cases. Some practitioners sent out letters with information about the upcoming trials, while others formed groups to send righteous thoughts.
Our cooperation has played a great role in disintegrating the old force factors in other dimensions and enabled us to help Master in saving sentient beings.
As practitioners, we are doing what we should do, but actually, it is the process that Master arranged for us, so we can see our shortcomings and improve in cultivation.
We sincerely thank Master for his merciful salvation! We also thank fellow practitioners for their selfless support, and thank the lawyers for their braveness and devotion to their profession!