Lawyers for Members of New Citizens Movement Dismissed During Trial
Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping and Li Sihua are members
of the New Citizens Movement, Xinyu, Jiangxi Province.
They are known as “Xinyu’s three noble characters".
They are known for urging disclosure of officials
assets, and supporting detained activists.
The three were accused of “illegal assembly".
On October 28, Yushui District
Court in Xinyu City opened the trial.
All three dismissed their lawyers in court, in order to protest
the court’s illegal behavior. The hearing was adjourned.
Meanwhile the regime dispatched thousands of police to
arrest their supporters, or place them under house arrest.
The regime also made the lawyers’ defense difficult
in court, and the case has drawn attention globally.
Sources indicate that human rights officers from Embassies
including the US, Canada and European Union countries,
went to Xinyu court on October 28, but were refused entry.
At 10pm, the six lawyers of the three
defendants issued a statement.
Because of the judges’ illegal behaviors,
the lawyers are unable to fulfill their role.
Thus, the three defendants have dismissed their lawyers.
The collegial panel announced the trial was adjourned,
and gave the defendants 15 days to re-hire lawyers.
Pang Kun, defense lawyer: “Because the defendants
understood that the court can’t guarantee lawyers’ rights,
lawyers can’t play their role, and were threatened in court.
Thus the defendants dismissed them,
and they need to hire lawyers again."
Liu Ping’s daughter Liao Minyue
spoke about what happened in court.
The six lawyers told the court that it illegally
extended the detention of the three defendants.
The lawyers requested the judges of the collegial
panel to step back, but their request was denied.
The judge’s attitude was very bad,
interrupting lawyers speeches many times.
Liao Minyue: “The judge didn’t allow the lawyers to
speak, so it wasn’t any good to carry on with the trial.
When our lawyers raised their hands to
make points, the judge ignored them.
What is the point of carrying on with such a trial?"
In April, the three activists took photos holding placards.
They were requesting the regime to release
members of the New Citizens Movement.
They also urged the disclosure of officials’
assets, and were subsequently arrested.
The three defendants were separately accused of
“illegal assembly", “disturbing public order" and
“using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement".
After their detention, netizens gave them much support.
One week before the hearing, some supporters received
a warning from the local police not to go to Xinju City.
However, many supporters ignored the warning.
They traveled to Xinyu City, but
were stopped by thousands of police.
Netizen “Xiucai Jianghu", “Citizen Xiaobiao",
“Liu Shasha" and “Yang Kuang" were arrested.
They were successively released
on the evening of October 28.
Netizen “Citizen Xiaobiao" went
to Xinyu City, a day before the trial.
He says that a friend told him the regime placed
heavy security in Xinyu one week before the trial.
The train stations and bus stations
were equipped with checkpoints.
Netizen “Citizen Xiaobiao": “For our safety, we
got off the bus at Yichun which is next to Xinyu City.
The traffic police started checking
every bus, and every passenger’s ID.
They wrote down our ID at the first checkpoint.
They just wrote it down, so we were lucky."
When “Citzen Xiaobiao" and other netizens arrived
in Xinyu’s rural area, there was a second checkpoint.
The police detained them at a local police
station, and they were released after 22 hours.
Netizen “Xiucai Jianghu": “On the afternoon of October
27, lawyer Pang Kun and I took a bus from Shenzhen.
We were detained on the bus on the way to
the hotel, and they took us to a police station."
“Xiucai Jianghu" was held for more than 20 hours.
Domestic Security Division personnel then sent him
back to his hometown in Changxing County, Zhejiang.
Pang Kun was also harassed.
On October 26, in Shenzhen, Pang was
detained for three hours by local police.
The police told him not to go to Xinyu to defend activists.
The police checked Cheng Guangwu and
other lawyers’ practice licenses outside court.
Liu Ping’s witness, Liu Ximei was detained before
the trial on allegations of “disturbing public order".
Freedom of activists in Xinyu was restricted,
including Zou Guiqin and Huang Huimin.
On October 28, lawyer Li Fangping wrote on Weibo:
The regime used national security
forces to deal with small Xinyu.
It understood that tens of provinces are maintaining stability.
Li says that the regime held a hearing of members
of the New Citizens Movement in Xinyu, a remote
place, and it intended to test people’s reaction.