(Minghui.org) Two residents of Jinning District, Kunming City, Yunnan Province were each sentenced to three and a half-year prison terms in May 2023 for their shared faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.
While both Mr. Gao Peifa, 60, and Mr. Gao Wenlong, 59, have been in custody since their arrests late last year, the Anning City Court ordered that their prison terms would commence on the day of the sentencing, not the days of their respective arrests.
According to China’s criminal law, each day that a defendant spends in detention prior to their sentencing must be deducted from the prison term eventually received. The Anning City Court refused to acknowledge the days that the two Mr. Gaos had already spent in custody, on the grounds that those happened during the pandemic.
The court also didn’t notify the two men’s families of their virtual hearing. The families didn’t learn of the sentencing until they received a copy of the verdict in the mail from the court.
Arrests and Secret Trial
Mr. Gao Peifa, an employee of Erjie Town Factory 450, was arrested at work on October 10, 2022, by agents from the Anning City Domestic Security Office and Jinning District Police Station. The police then raided his home and confiscated his Falun Gong books and informational materials. Mr. Gao was held at the Anning City Lockup for a 15-day quarantine before being moved to the Songming County Detention Center. He was transferred to the Anning City Detention Center on December 5, 2022.
Mr. Gao Wenlong was arrested at home on November 1, 2022. The arresting officers were also from the Anning City Domestic Security Office and Jinning District Police Station. They raided his home before taking him to the Songming County Detention Center. He was also transferred to the Anning City Detention Center on December 5, 2022.
The Anning City Court held a virtual hearing for the two practitioners’ cases in the Anning City Detention Center in May 2023 (exact date unclear) without notifying their families. The two practitioners were each sentenced at the end of the hearing. Their families were surprised to receive their verdicts in the mail and learn that their prison terms started on the day of sentencing, not the day of arrest.
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