February 06, 2013 | By Wei Ni
(Minghui.org) At over 70 years old, Ms. Wu Congmei of Huili County, Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province, was sentenced to three years in prison by Judge Qiu Yun, Judicial President of the No. 1 Criminal Court, and his associates in the Huili County Court. From the time Ms. Wu, a Falun Gong practitioner, was taken to the Huili Detention Center in May 2012, the process she went through reveals how the County Court and Domestic Security police openly violated the law. Ms. Wu’s attorney had to educate the County Court on “legal literacy.” In the end, he concluded: “The Huili County Court is in the dark!”
Judge Qiu and his associates should act as professionals, objective, and knowledgeable of the law. Otherwise, they should not be licensed to practice law. Two months after Ms. Wu’s arrest, her attorney issued a plea of innocence based on a fact: “Practicing Falun Gong is legal; distributing Falun Gong material is legal.” During the trial, Judge Qiu and his judicial representatives acted as though they were illiterate of the law.
Attorney Deprived of Legal Rights
When Ms. Wu’s attorney went to the Huili County Court to review his client’s case, Judge Qiu told him, “The deputy president forbids you to read the files.” Ms. Wu’s attorney immediately pointed out the seriousness of such an unlawful infraction, and he sued the Huili County Court through the Huili Procuratoratefor depriving him of his legal rights as an attorney.
On November 16, the day before the trial, Ms. Wu’s attorney visited the court to again request access to his client’s case materials, but once again his request was denied.
Family Members Deprived of Right to Observe Trial
On November 17, 2012, Ms. Wu was taken by two policewomen to the courthouse. She could not walk on her own due to the torture she had been subjected to in detention. “Falun Dafa is good! Truth-Compassion-Tolerance is good!” she declared, despite the pain. The court did not issue a pass to Ms. Wu’s husband to allow him to observe the trial. All attendees in the court had been designated by judicial representatives.
Tried Illegally without Evidence
After Procuratorate prosecutor Wang Fangyun finished reading the indictment, the court refused to provide any evidence incriminating Ms. Wu. Her attorney demanded that the court reveal the original pieces of evidence; however, the court declined. The attorney pointed it out that such an act was in serious violation of the law. The court’s claims proved baseless, and in the end, the court still refused to provide any original evidence outside of a few photos and fallacious signatures.
“It is legal that Wu Congmei practices Falun Gong,” Ms. Wu’s attorney stated. “Distributing Falun Gong truth-clarification materials is also legal.” He also pointed out that it was completely groundless to prosecute Ms. Wu according to Article 300 of the Criminal Law, “Actions of Using Cult Organizations to Sabotage the Nation’s Laws and Regulations.”
In the end, Ms. Wu’s attorney also stated, “If you sentence someone you know to be innocent, it is in violation of the law and also a smear on one’s conscience.” He thus requested that the court release Ms. Wu.
Ms. Wu also firmly requested her immediate release.
Forging Witness Signatures
Domestic Security officers provided signatures from Ms. Wu’s son and daughter-in-law, claiming that they were required to sign off on a list of confiscated personal property after Ms. Wu’s home was ransacked. Ms. Wu’s son and daughter-in-law were not home when the police took Ms. Wu away; however, the police used such signatures as decrees of “witness.” The court thus improperly used Ms. Wu’s son and daughter-in-law as “important witnesses.”
Not Providing a Verdict to Attorney and Family
On December 21, 2012, when Ms. Wu’s husband visited Judge Qiu to request his wife’s release, Qiu said, “I have already sentenced her to three years.” Mr. Wu’s husband replied, “The attorney said that my wife is innocent. Practicing Falun Gong is legal. How could you sentence her to prison?” Qiu replied glibly, “Well, you can sue me.” In the end, neither Ms. Wu’s attorney nor her family ever received an official “verdict.”
Manipulating the Timing
The illegal trial of Ms. Wu at the Huili County Court took place on November 17, 2012, and the sentencing took place on December 7. The verdict was given to Ms. Wu on December 20, 14 days after the deadline.
Ms. Wu appealed her case on December 21. However, up until January 8, Ms. Wu’s second Beijing attorney had been denied access to the case materials by the Liangshan Intermediate Court. The attorney was told that the courts had not received any materials from Huili County.
The attorney went to Huili on January 9 to address this mishandling of materials with Judge Qiu. Qiu claimed that the case materials had already been transferred to the Liangshan Intermediate Court. In front of Qiu, the attorney immediately called the chief judge of the Criminal Court of the Liangshan Intermediate Court to ask for clarification. He then handed the phone to Qiu, whereupon Qiu changed his story. He told the higher-level court official that the materials must still be in transit. It is only 185 kilometers (115 miles) between Huili County and Xichang City (capitol of Liangshan Prefecture). It is unlikely that the materials would be in transit for over 10 days without having arrived yet. Ms. Wu’s family members were extremely angry at this obvious lie.
The attorney offered evidence that the Huili County Court caused unnecessary delay, as they illegally detained Ms. Wu for three-and-a-half months, issued Ms. Wu’s verdict 14 days after the deadline, and intentionally kept Ms. Wu’s case materials from the intermediate court. The attorney also pointed out that Procuratorate prosecutor Wang Fangyun failed in his duty to monitor the actions of the court.
A staff member at the Huili County Procuratorate later became familiar with these details. His signature of July 27, 2012, essentially indicted Ms. Wu, and he was shocked and disturbed after the lawyer made him aware of some important legal breaches. The staff member said that he had not been involved in this case, and that his signature must have been forged on the indictment documents.
Ms. Wu’s attorney filed a complaint to the Liangshan Intermediate Court regarding Judge Qiu Yun of the Huili County Court, Wang Fangyun of the Huili County Procuratorate, and others involved in the case. The attorney requested that the Liangshan Intermediate Court correct the wrongful sentence administered by the Huili County Court.
Unfortunately, this type of incident in which legal professionals gratuitously violate the law is not only commonplace in Huili County, but throughout all of China today.
CATEGORY: Accounts of Persecution