Fifteen Chinese Lawyers Demand an Open Retrial of Falun Gong Practitioners

January 17, 2009 11:17 pm Last Updated: January 18, 2009 3:02 am

Fifteen lawyers have stepped forward to defend Falun Gong practitioners after the Chengdu People’s Intermediate Court sentenced 11 people, including Falun Gong practitioners and their family members, to prison terms of from 3 to 17 years in October 2008.

The 15 lawyers are asking the court to find the 11 defendants not guilty.

The lawyers insist that the sentencing in the first trial was not supported by facts or evidence. According to the lawyers, the court continued the proceedings in violation of several judicial procedures, and the court hastily ended the trial. As a result, the lawyers requested that the Chengdu People’s Intermediate Court hold an open second trial.

Lawyer Mou Jiyuan said, “The case deserves a second trial, mainly because of uncertain facts and insufficient evidence, which led to the sentencing and a misjudgment. We have therefore joined forces and reported the case to the local Procuratorate asking for an investigation.”

Lawyer Liu Wei said, “The court originally did not agree to hold another trial and only wanted our defense statements, trying to just go through the formality while maintaining the same verdicts. We felt that they did not want another trial, but we insisted on getting one. They totally did not understand the facts at all.”

No Basis for Verdicts

Mao Qi’s lawyer, Jin Guanghong said, “There is no specific Chinese law that specifies Falun Gong is a cult. Therefore Falun Gong practitioners should not receive criminal sentences.”

Mao also said, “I have worked on Falun Gong practitioners’ cases before, so I’m familiar with this type of case. My defense for Falun Gong practitioners includes the following three points:

1. Subjectively speaking, it is not a fact that Falun Gong practitioners use a cult to violate the law. They practice Falun Gong just to get fit and healthy, and not to violate the law. Falun Gong is not a cult. Whether it is a cult or not should not be defined by the judicial system casually.

2. Falun Gong practitioners’ making and distributing information materials is an extension of the people’s right to freedom of speech and expression.

3. People who practice Falun Gong are all very kindhearted and care about others greatly. They not only do no harm to society, but they actually contribute to maintaining society’s peace and stability. We therefore should not give them criminal sentences.”

Accusations of Torture

According to the lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners stated in the court that when they were illegally detained in brainwashing centers, they were beaten, deprived of sleep, subjected to drug abuse, and subjected to torture that disfigured their faces.

Some Falun Gong practitioners’ bodies are still severely scarred. During the trial, one of them, Mr. Zhu Renbin whose face was pale, was holding the liver area in his abdomen and looked very weak.