Lawyer sues court over illegally sold evidence in Enyu Bookstore religious case

Monday, September 9, 2013

China Aid Association

September 9, 2013

ChinaAid reported on Aug. 23 that key evidence in the Enyu Bookstore religious case had appeared on the shelves of a second hand bookstore in Taiyuan, where the appeal case is to take place, before a verdict was reached. This disregard for the law demonstrates that the relevant government agencies’ claim to be “handling the case in accordance with law” is a facade. Instead, the agencies’ real purpose is to attack religious freedom.

On Sept. 3, 2013, Ren Lacheng’s lawyer, Xia Jun formally submitted an administrative lawsuit at the Taiyuan Court regarding the sale of evidence by Taiyuan police for a case still in trial. The court told Xia that the lawsuit would need to be sent to the administrative court for review and approval, a process which would take up to seven days.

The following day, Xia returned to the court to file suit again. At first, the employee in the reception area refused to accept the lawsuit materials, reasoning that Xia didn't name any charges in the suit. Xia told the employee that it was up to the court to determine the charges against them and the he went to the court only to sue. The employee told Xia that all those who bring a lawsuit to the procuratorate must name the crime they believe to have been committed as well as the result they seek. “If you really want me to say what crime, I’d like to say it’s a crime that carries a capital punishment,” Xia said in response. The employee asked Xia in surprise if he wanted to give the Public Security Bureau a death penalty. “The death penalty only goes to the police officers who seized and then sold the books,” Xia said. At this point, the employee called for the section chief to speak with Xia.

The section chief asked Xia who in the Xiaodian District Branch should prosecute the charges against the court. Xia replied that he didn't

know and told the chief to ask the Xiaodian District Branch. The chief told Xia that he had insufficient evidence and that the court would not accept the charges. “As a lawyer, my responsibility is to sue and I have given you some evidence. If you don’t think the evidence is sufficient, you can send out people to investigate—this is the responsibility of the procuratorate,” Xia responded. The chief asked Xia if he thought the court should investigate every lawsuit. Xia replied affirmatively, adding that the person who accuses someone of a crime is responsible for false accusations and that the procuratorate is responsible for any delays in the case if the court doesn't immediately accept the case. After this exchange, the section chief accepted the lawsuit.

ChinaAid hopes that the court will persist in the spirit of judicial independence and take this administrative lawsuit seriously. We also hope the court of appeals will be able to correct the sentencing handed down by the lower-level court and give a just and fair verdict to Brothers Ren Lacheng and Li Wenxi.

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