Appeals court overturns lower court decision but gives Falun Gong practitioner same 3-year sentence anyway22/09/2013
(Minghui.org) The Hengyang City Intermediate Court recently ruled on the appeal of Ms Xiong Qiuling, a Falun Gong practitioner illegally sentenced to three years in prison. Hengyang City is located in China's Hunan Province. The intermediate court dismissed a lower court’s charges against her, but instead, charged her with a different crime: “harbouring criminals”. This was done to retain the original sentence of three years in prison.
This flagrant abuse of justice has become a joke in judicial circles. One judge remarked, “Our director doesn't know the law.” The court was well aware that they were not following legal procedures, and have in fact been conducting trials in secret, evading public scrutiny.
Secret trial results in three-year sentence
Ms Xiong, 53, from Laiyang City, was a retiree from the Laiyang City Medicine Company. On October 28th, 2012, she was arrested by a dozen police officers from the Domestic Security Division from Hengyang City and Laiyang City, and officers from the Caizichi Police Station and taken to the Laiyang Detention Centre that day. Huang Duohong, a Falun Gong practitioner from Xiangtan who was visiting Ms Xiong at the time, was also arrested.
The Laiyang City Court tried Ms Xiong secretly in February 2013, right before Chinese New Year’s Day. There was no legal counsel present. Only her daughter was at the trial. The court sentenced her to three years in prison, under the trumped up charge of “using a heretical organisation to undermine the implementation of law”.
Successful appeal undermined
Ms Xiong and her family retained a lawyer and appealed to the Hengyang City Intermediate Court. The lawyer pointed out in his defence argument that the Laiyang City Court lacked evidence in its sentencing of Ms Xiong. He said that it is not a crime for a person to have a belief. The law only punishes the conduct of a person. He concluded that Ms Xiong had broken no laws and should be released without penalty.
In May 2013, Judge Kuang Jingzi, and the deputy courtroom director, Chen Hong, went to Hengyang City to interrogate Ms Xiong. However, they were really interested in the case of Ms Huang Duohong, who was arrested while at Ms Xiong's home. Ms Xiong talked to them in depth about Falun Gong, and urged them not to persecute law-abiding people.
The Hengyang Intermediate Court delivered the final sentence to Ms Xiong in June 2013. They dismissed all charges that the lower court had made against her, but they charged her with a different crime, “harbouring criminals” (for having Ms Huang Duohong at her home), and still sentenced her to three years in prison.
Ms Huang Duohong would visit Ms Xiong from time to time. Ms Huang is a good wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law. She supports the elderly people in her family, and is very respectful to both her parents and in-laws. She often helped poor students financially. Her kindness towards others is the result of following Dafa's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
The Yuhu District Court of Xiangtan City, Hunan Province, tried Ms Huang at the Sanjiaoping Detention Centre on April 10th, 2013. Her lawyer, who had come from Beijing, submitted a “not guilty” plea and gave convincing arguments. A request was made to the court by the lawyer for Ms Huang's immediate release. The judge said that he needed to discuss the case with his superior before he could make a decision.
In mid-May 2013, the Yuhu District Court notified Ms Huang's lawyer that the Xiangtan City Police Department had gathered “new evidence,” and asked if he would provide another defence on behalf of Ms Huang. He categorically refused, and told them that what they were doing was completely illegal.
The irony of this case is that the Hengyang Intermediate Court sentenced Ms Xiong for the crime of “harbouring criminals,” to prove that Ms Huang was, in fact, “guilty” of being a criminal. The twisted logic of the Hengyang City Intermediate Court defies reason. It is no wonder the judges jokingly remarked, “Our court director doesn't know the law.”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has never followed the law when persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. Rather, they have deceived the citizenry and used the judicial system as a tool for the persecution of innocent people.