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Defense Statement on Behalf of Ni Yulan

December 29, 2011

On April 10, 2012, Beijing rights defender Ni Yulan (倪玉兰) was sentenced to two years and eight months of imprisonment for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and “fraud”. Her husband, Dong Jiqin (董继勤) was sentenced to two years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” The sentence came more than three months after their trial on December 29, 2011, where the prosecution accused the couple of arbitrarily occupying a hotel room, refusing to pay the hotel, and verbally abusing staff members of the hotel. The prosecution further accused Ni of posing as a lawyer in order to defraud people. Defense lawyer Cheng Hai (程海) entered a not-guilty plea and argued in the defense statement that it was the police who forced the couple to live in a guest house, and that it is hard to imagine that Ni, who is paralyzed from the waist down, and her aging husband were capable of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” with the mighty police and hotel staff. Cheng also argued that Ni did not commit fraud, and requested the court to punish the real criminals.