The trial of 47 Hong Kong politicians, activists, and democracy activists was postponed by prosecutors for another month, and their pre-election primaries were declared illegal under their comprehensive national security laws.
The court was originally scheduled to hear the request on Thursday to transfer the case to a higher court that has the power to order an extension of the sentence, but the prosecutor requested an 11-week postponement, saying they need more time to prepare, according to officials. Local media.
These 47 people were among the 55 people detained by the National Security Police on January 6, including members of civil society, social workers, teachers, and former pro-democratic lawmakers who have represented Hong Kong voters for decades.
Since at least the end of February, most people have been in prison. At that time, a one-day hearing was held in which it was heard that the accused was denied showers and rest, and four people were taken to the hospital, resulting in all but 12 people. Refused to bail.
The organization faced charges of conspiring to subvert the national security law for holding an unofficial primary election in July 2020, and the election was postponed since. Primary elections are not a formal part of the Hong Kong electoral process, they are not binding and are held by various political parties, including the establishment.
But this pan-democratic movement was seen as an unofficial statement to the government. After a year of massive protests and subsequent repression, some 600,000 people voted for the candidate. Beijing declared the activity illegal, and six months later, Hong Kong authorities used the National Security Law to arrest all candidates, organizers and personnel involved in the case.
Beijing implemented the National Security Law in Hong Kong 10 days before the primary elections, outlawing separatism, subversion, foreign collusion, and terrorism, and was widely criticized for being too broad, harsh, and used to combat dissent. More than 128 people were arrested and at least 65 people were prosecuted in accordance with the law.
A national security trial has only officially begun, and the lawsuit is being closely watched for fear that Hong Kong’s judiciary will be eroded during the crackdown.
In several cases, the prosecutor requested and approved their transfer to a higher court. If convicted, the court would allow more severe penalties, up to life in prison.
On Wednesday, the court transferred the case of Li Andi, a human rights activist accused of foreign collusion, to the High Court. Last month, the foreign collusion trial of media mogul and activist Li Zhiying received the same request. Reine is serving a 20-month sentence for activities related to the protests.
Chief Magistrate Suvictor will postpone the postponement until September 23. The court is packed with foreign media and diplomats, meaning that except for the 12 defendants who were released on bail, everyone else will remain in jail.
Jimmy Lai was chained and handcuffed and escorted by two policemen.
`They cannot speak freely`: Hong Kong one year after the enactment of the National Security Act.
The National Security Act lifted the burden of proof on bail, requiring defendants to convince to the judge that they would not endanger national security if they were released. In at least one bail case, former legislator Claudia Mo, a private communication with a foreign journalist was cited as evidence
that the 64-year-old man with no criminal record may commit another crime.
In recent months, the Hong Kong authorities have increased their pressure on the opposition and dissidents, forcing the shutdown of the popular democratic newspaper “Apple Daily”, founded and owned by Mr. Lai, and arresting or indicting various publishers, including its editor-in-chief, collusion with foreign countries.
This week, according to local media reports, as many as 200 people may be disqualified and paid for their past “unpatriotic” behavior. According to reports, more democratic district councillors resigned, even if they comply with the new requirement of pledge of allegiance.
Some National Security Court hearings, including the February bail hearing and Li Wednesday’s appearance in court, are subject to reporting restrictions.