In an October 14 statement, the lawyers for Liu Ping (刘萍), Wei Zhongping (魏忠平), and Li Sihua (李思华)—three asset transparency advocates in Jiangxi Province facing trial—accused the trial court of exceeding the three-month legal limit for trying and rendering verdicts on their clients’ cases, after accepting the case on July 2. (See below for a draft English translation of the statement by Human Rights in China.)
The lawyers—Zhang Xuezhong (张雪忠), Zheng Jianwei (郑建伟), Liu Jinbin (刘金滨), Chen Guangwu (陈光武), Pang Kun (庞琨), and Li Jinxing (李金星)—issued their statement after a pre-trial conference on the same day with the Xinyu Yushui District People’s Court. The court did not set a trial date.
The defendants were detained on April 28, 2013 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪), following their protest on April 21 in Xinyu calling for public disclosure of officials’ assets and the release of political prisoners. They were indicted on July 2 on the lesser charge of “illegal assembly” (非法集会). On September 23, according to the lawyers’ statement, two new charges were added against Liu Ping and Wei Zhongping: “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (聚众扰乱公共场所秩序) and “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement” (利用邪教组织破坏法律实施).
The lawyers said in the statement that the presiding judge justified the delay with the additional charges that were brought in September.
In a separate statement issued on October 7, Liu Ping’s lawyer Zhang Xuezhong called the two additional charges, relating to activities in 2011 and 2012, “even more absurd than the ‘illegal assembly’ charge.” Zhang pointed out that the “gathering a crowd” charge stems from Liu and Wei’s canvassing in May 2011 for election to the People’s Congress of Xinyu, and the “evil cult” charge from an online posting by Liu in August 2012 urging people to observe a trial in Shanghai involving Falun Gong practitioners. In addition, Zhang said that Liu herself is a Christian.
Lawyers' Statement Concerning Yushui District People's Court in Xinyu City
Keeping Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping, and Li Sihua in Custody Beyond Legal Limit
October 14, 2013
[Draft translation by Human Rights in China]
On July 2, 2013, the Yushui District People's Court in Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province, accepted the illegal assembly case against Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping, and Li Sihua. On September 23, 2013, the People's Procuratorate in Wangcheng Gongkuang District in Xinyu City added two more charges—gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place and using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement—against Liu Ping and Wei Zhongping.
At a pre-trial meeting at the court on October 14, 2013, the three defendants' defense lawyers—Zhang Xuezhong, Zheng Jianwei, Liu Jinbin, Chen Guangwu, Pang Kun, and Li Jinxing—unanimously asked the court's collegiate bench to explain why, three months after accepting the case, the court has still not tried the case and rendered a verdict of the first instance. The presiding judge told all the lawyers that because the procuratorate has added new charges, the deadline for trying the case should be recalculated. The defense lawyers reviewed all the case documents, which were verified by the collegiate bench, and found no legal documents that provided a basis for extending the trial deadline for any reason.
All the defense lawyers unanimously believe that the court's opinion that the trial deadline should be recalculated has no legal basis whatsoever. Acting without a legal basis, and failing to undergo legally prescribed procedures for examination and approval, the Yushui District People's Court in Xinyu City has not tried and closed the case within the deadline for first instance trials as required by law. This has resulted in the detention of the three defendants beyond the legal limit, thus seriously violating their lawful rights.
In accordance with the requirements of Article 96 of the Criminal Procedure Law, all the defense lawyers demand that the Yushui District People's Court in Xinyu City immediately release Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping, and Li Sihua; should the processing of this case continue, the court should adjust the compulsory measures in accordance with the law. The defense lawyer of each defendant will also bring a lawsuit before the relevant legal oversight organs against the three members of the collegiate bench for dereliction of duty due to their serious violation of the defendants' lawful rights.
Click here for the Chinese original of the statement.
For more information on Liu Ping, see: