Crime & Justice

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists ruling postponed again

Hong Kong, Mar 3 (efe-epa).- The Hong Kong judiciary on Wednesday postponed the outcome of a preliminary hearing of 47 politicians and activists who have been charged with “subversion” after some of them decided to represent themselves and filed their own bail applications.

Several of the defendants who testified on Wednesday opted not to use defense lawyers, which lengthened the hearing and prompted the judiciary to continue with the proceedings on Thursday.

The hearing has been dragging on since Monday. Several of those appearing have been hospitalized because of exhaustion.

Fernando Cheung, vice-president of the Labor Party, told local media outside the court that the treatment of the accused is “inhumane” given that “they have not been allowed to change their clothes or even rest” during the three days of the trial.

Some supporters of the opposition figures left jackets and boxes of food outside the court on Wednesday under a banner that read: “Freedom for all political prisoners”.

The hearing began on Monday after 11:00 local time (03:00 GMT) and was recessed on Tuesday after one of the defendants under the controversial national security law, Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, fainted.

At least three other defendants, Mike Lam, Leung Kwok-Hung and Roy Tam, were also hospitalized that day, while the others spent the night at the Lai Chi Kok detention center.

The 47 dissidents were among 55 people rounded up on January 6 and 7 by police in a mass arrest operation that sent shockwaves through Hong Kong.

They were alleged to have attempted to paralyze the government through their involvement in elections held in July 2020.

The unofficial poll, described by Hong Kong authorities as an “evil plot”, was meant to maximize the chance of the pro-democracy camp gaining a majority at the Legislative Council election, originally scheduled for September 2020 but later postponed by a year due to Covid-19 concerns. More than 610,000 Hongkongers cast their ballots in the poll.

The prosecutors allege that the accused violated the controversial national security law that was drafted by Beijing and enacted on Jun. 30, which carries severe punishments including life sentence for charges of subversion and colluding with foreign powers.

The prosecution has also urged the court to deny bail as the crimes are “very serious” in nature and have caused “irreversible and irreparable” harm, while claiming that the defendants were a flight-risk. EFE-EPA


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