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Trial for Mongolian Couple Accused of "Evil Cult Practice", Spectators Assaulted for Asking a Question During Court Proceedings



June 20, 2006
New York





On June 12, 2006, over a year after they were first detained, Dr. Naguunbilig and his wife Ms. Daguulaa stood trial for “practicing an evil cult”, “advocating idealism and superstition”, “conducting illegal business”, and “printing and distributing illegal publications.” Both Naguunbilig, a prominent Mongolian physician and psychiatrist, and Daguulaa, who worked as his assistant, were arrested at his “Inner Mongolian Aztai Mongol Senior’s Health Center” in Hohhot City on the evening of June 7, 2005, for practicing what the authorities called a “Mongolian version of Falun Gong”. The health center was forcibly shut down following his arrest.

Security personnel from the Detention Center of the Inner Mongolian Security Bureau (内蒙古公安厅看守所)escorted Naguunbilig into the Hohhot Municipality Intermediate People’s Court in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for the open trial; personnel from the Hohhot City Detention Center No.1 呼和浩特市第一看守所escorted Daguulaa. Both were in handcuffs. A lawyer retained by Naguunbilig’s older brother represented both the accused. No information about the lawyer is available.

Some 200 Mongols, most of then the doctor’s patients, colleagues, and employees who chose to come to express respect and support, filled the heavily guarded and monitored courtroom. Ms. Xinna, wife of the well known Mongolian political prisoner Hada, and their son Uiles, were among the court audience. Taking notes during the trial was prohibited, and security personnel confiscated pens, pencils, and notes from those they caught trying to record the proceedings. Each of the two defendants was given 15 minutes to make a statement. Although they were frequently interrupted by the trial judges both strenuously refuted the allegations. Dr. Naguunbilig said that the accusation of practicing an “evil cult,” was not only unfounded but an insult to traditional Mongolian medicine, and added that the trial would have consequences that went well beyond his own case.

Reports indicate that no solid evidence backed up the charges. Instead, the prosecutor spent more than two hours connecting the defendants to an alleged “illegal qigong practitioner” named Zhang who, reportedly, has not been charged with any breach of law. It was clear that audience members were confused and angered by what they considered to be the prosecutor’s illogical allegations and thought that some clarification was in order. For example, an elderly woman sitting next to Xinna, asked her if Zhang and Naguunbilig were the same person. Xinna then stood up, asked the trial judges if the court was trying Naguunbilig and Daguulaa or qigong practitioner Zhang, and started to leave the courtroom accompanied by her son, Uiles.

Security personnel forcibly intercepted and assaulted the two and held them in a small cell behind the court room from 5:30 to 8:30 PM. for “disturbing court proceedings”. At about 7:00 PM, police officers took Uiles into another room and beat him brutally for some twenty minutes. At 8:30 PM, Xinna was released after agreeing that although she was unaware “speaking at the court is a violation of law,” she agrees she made a mistake in doing so. Uiles was sentenced to 13 days in detention and transferred to the Hohhot City Public Security Detention Center ( 呼和浩特市中级人民法院 ). He is held with seven others in a small cell and pays 25 yuan (approximately U.S.$3.00) per day to cover his expenses. During his stay, Uiles works long hours in the detention center’s kitchen.  

At 5:30 PM, the court adjourned without a ruling on the cases of Naguunbilig and Daguulaa. Speculation continues about the reasons for an open trial. Some suggest three motives, one to show the public that rule of law is the norm in China, another to serve as a warning that harsh treatment awaits those who follow in the footsteps of Naguunbilig and Daguulaa; and a third to monitor who shows up at the trial and who doesn’t.



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