The eleven Falun Gong practitioners who were charged respectively by the police with "assembly without permit" and ""harassment by displaying insulting writings - with common intention" appeared in court once again on July 28th, 2006.
On the morning of July 28th, ten of the practitioners involved in the two cases had invited the same counsel to represent them in court, and one practitioner decided to defend herself.
The prosecuting attorney originally proposed to open a court session for trial of the case of "assembly without permit" on July 31st, and the judge approved his suggestion. But the defense counsel expressed that she just accepted the invitation to represent the defendants on July 27th, and it was impossible for her to prepare for the trial beginning on the next working day. She hoped to be given a four-week extension; otherwise she would have to quit the case.
In the afternoon, at the pre-trial meeting, the judge proposed to open the court session for trial of the case of "assembly without permit" on August 21st, and the case for protest in front of the Chinese Embassy on August 28th.
As the times given for the court sessions for the two cases are so close, the defense counsel felt it impossible to give proper attention to the two cases in such a short period of time. She requested that the second case be postponed, but the judge did not approve. Therefore, the counsel decided to withdraw from the first case. The nine accused practitioners had to defend themselves without the counsel's assistance.
Falun Gong practitioner Shen Jian stated in court that it was not easy for them to find a counsel to represent them, and as a result, they had to defend themselves. She said, "This is against our will."
One of the practitioners involved in the nine-person case, Wang Yuyi, requested the prosecution to provide names of the witnesses and evidence. The judge said the police's video tapes were the only evidence, and that the prosecution would have two witnesses. One was the police officer who videotaped the scene, and the other was the investigator in charge of the incident at the Tanglin Police Division.
The judge then asked the nine practitioners if they had their witnesses. Dr. Wang Yuyi stated that she requested to have eight witnesses testify in court, including Lee Kuan Yee and Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng as well as six other police officers from Tanglin Police Division.
The judge reminded Wang Yuyi that the defense witnesses should be able to defend her, but not the ones who will be cross-examined for her own purposes.
Wang Yuyi said, "I see your point. These witnesses are well-trained, and they are supposed to know clearly the meaning and requirements for testifying in court. I won't require them to intentionally testify either in my favour or to my disadvantage, but only require them to tell the truth. So long as they tell the truth, so long as the court can be impartial in handling the case, so long as the judge can make a fair decision, finally everyone will see that the case is not at all tenable."
Wang Yuyi finally explained that they only exercised their rights, but had no intention to create trouble.
Wang Yuyi said, "We clarify the facts and pass out flyers on the streets. We only want to help people learn the truth, that Falun Gong is suffering persecution. We do not want to go to court, but this thing happens here (in court), we have to exercise our rights. When people hear what we tell them, they will understand. We hope the court will give us this opportunity to clarify the truth. When everyone truly understands how brutal the persecution is against Falun Gong practitioners, they will show sympathy and support us, because everyone has a kind heart and kind intention."
The judge finally decided the case of "assembly without permit" will be on August 14th to 18th, and the protest case in front of the Chinese Embassy will be from August 28th to September 1st.
Why Summon the Eight Witnesses?
After the court session on July 28th, 2006, Falun Gong practitioner Wang Yuyi, who requested to summon Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Minister Wong Kan Seng as well as six other police officers from the Police Force, told of the reasons for summoning the eight witnesses in an interview.
Reporter: The charge in the case is whether you had a permit or not. Are the witnesses you mentioned related to the case?
Wang Yuyi: We only passed out flyers on the streets. It is so common in Singapore, there should be no such a question of whether we had a permit or not. For so many years, we have heard from the police officers and officials from government departments that they have no way but only follow the order from the higher authorities; therefore, we hope Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng and others to clarify all this in court. The purpose of the trial is to make the case clear, and the lack of major witnesses will not make this possible. The criminal case takes witnesses' testimony very seriously . It is a prerequisite for the court to conduct an impartial trial by summoning essential witnesses.
Reporter: Do you think that the eight witnesses will appear in court as requested?
Wang Yuyi: So many of us feel that we have been illegally charged, but we fulfill our duty as citizens [to appear in court]. Several of us have lost jobs due to this case. As defendants, summoning essential witnesses is also our right. They should also fulfill their duty as citizens to testify in court. Certainly, considering that some of them are seniors in age and have a busy schedule, we will cooperate with them in terms of time, and provide convenience for them to appear in court.
Since 1999, we have sent numerous letters to them, in hopes that they can understand the truth of the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong, but they have never given us a positive reply. Instead, they have charged practitioners in court time and again. Since they believe the court is a channel for solving all problems, let us go to court together to make it clear face to face. Perhaps they have a misunderstanding, and perhaps they think what they have done is reasonable, then let them clarify all this in court.
Reporter: Do you think the case has something to do with the recent visit of Li Lanqing?
Wang Yuyi: Following the announcement of the Singapore media on 28th May 2006 that Li Lanqing, head of the persecution office in China, would be in Singapore to receive an honorary degree on July 6th, 2006, there occurred a series of incidents, including an attempt to deport a Falun Gong practitioner to China, banning Falun Gong practitioners' truth clarification activities, and for the fourth time, bringing Falun Gong practitioners to court.
* * *
You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.