(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Zhang Xiuzhen and Ms. Huang Dagui from Nanchong City were sentenced to prison on January 10, 2017, for distributing Falun Gong informational materials.

They were charged with “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement,” a generic pretense used by the Chinese Communist Party to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners.

Ms. Zhang was sentenced to 18 months and fined 3,000 yuan. Ms. Huang was sentenced to 12 months and fined 2000 yuan. Their lawyers were not informed of their sentences.

It wasn't until the attorneys visited their clients in the detention center on February 15 that they were made aware of the sentences. The women did not appeal.

The lawyers were surprised to learn what the court had handed down, since they had not received sentencing papers. They went to the Jialing District Court to ask about their clients’ cases, and each was issued a document.

The arrests of Ms. Zhang and Ms. Huang were made by officers from Longpan Town Police Station on April 24, 2016.

They were tried on November 28 and December 12, 2016. Their lawyers pleaded not guilty on their behalf and pointed out that practicing Falun Gong did not violate the law.