(Minghui.org) A Hefei City, Anhui Province resident was sentenced to two and a half years on August 24, 2020 for her faith in Falun Gong, a mind and body discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Zhai Yanan, 64, was arrested in October 2018 for distributing informational materials about Falun Gong. She has been detained at Hefei Women’s Detention Center since.

The Shushan District Procuratorate twice returned her case to the police due to insufficient evidence, but both the prosecutor and police refused to release her. After the police submitted her case for the third time, the prosecutor indicted her and moved her case to the Shushan District Court in July 2019.

Ms. Zhai was tried through a virtual hearing on May 26, 2020. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea for her, who was charged with “undermining law enforcement with a cult organization,” a standard pretext used by the regime to frame and sentence Falun Gong practitioners. The lawyer argued that the prosecutor failed to specify who was the alleged victim of his client or what law enforcement was allegedly undermined by his client.

None of the prosecution's witnesses appeared in court to face cross examination, nor was any physical evidence indicated in the indictment presented during the hearing. The indictment stated that the Hefei City Police Department had confirmed that the prosecution evidence against Ms. Zhai was sufficient to prove her guilt. The lawyer countered that the police department was not legally authorized to conduct forensic evidence appraisal, and that any evidence “approved” by it was inadmissible in court.

The prosecutor attempted to interrupt the lawyer’s defense and said, “You should act rationally during the defense.”

The lawyer said he was very rational, as he was simply pointing out the lack of legal basis and lack of evidence.

The judge sentenced Ms. Zhai to prison with a 3,000 yuan fine three months later. Ms. Zhai has filed an appeal against the verdict.