Residents of Hong Kong have ‘no proper to jury trial’ underneath a draconian nationwide safety legislation imposed on the town by the ruling Chinese language Communist Occasion (CCP), the town’s division of justice stated on Monday.
Prosecutors bringing fees of “terrorism” and “inciting secession” towards 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit after he flew a protest flag on the day the legislation took impact stated that defendants in Hong Kong do not need a constitutional or elementary proper to trial by jury.
Talking at a judicial evaluation listening to introduced by Tong’s protection workforce, prosecutors stated there can be no jury trial for Tong, amid accusations of procedural unfairness within the conduct of Tong’s case.
Senior Counsel Philip Dykes had argued that the choice to disclaim Tong a jury trial was unconstitutional underneath the town’s mini-constitution, the Fundamental Regulation.
Article 86 of the Fundamental Regulation states that “the precept of trial by jury beforehand practised in Hong Kong shall be maintained” after the 1997 handover to China.
“Trial by jury helps make sure the independence and high quality of judges… by making certain that they, and never judges appointed by the chief, really ship a verdict in a prosecution began by the federal government,” Dykes advised the court docket.
“Trials by a physique may afford a defendant some safety towards legal guidelines which they discover harsh or oppressive,” he stated.
‘Subversion’ fees for main election
The nationwide safety legislation, which noticed China’s feared state safety police arrange a headquarters in Hong Kong to supervise “critical” instances, has been broadly criticized by governments, rights teams and legal professionals as an assault on Hong Kong’s conventional freedoms of speech, affiliation and political participation.
In December, 27 opposition politicians and democracy activists had been arrested for “subversion” underneath the legislation after they held a democratic main designed to maximise their possibilities of profitable seats within the Legislative Council (LegCo).
The authorities responded by suspending the election and arresting those that took half within the main.
A type of arrested, Andrew Wan, resigned from his seat on the District Council on Monday.
“Apart from the safety cost, I additionally face 9 different fees which the authorities abusively slapped on me,” Wan stated by way of social media. “And the truth that I am on remand, there’s actually no technique to proceed to function a councilor.”
No less than 15 different district councilors have resigned in current months for quite a lot of causes, some in protest over an oath of loyalty to the CCP, and others in protest on the ever-widening assault on peaceable protest and political participation underneath the brand new legislation.
LegCo is predicted to cross a invoice on Wednesday setting out what it means to “uphold the Fundamental Regulation” and to “pledge allegiance to the SAR,” key phrases utilized by Chinese language and Hong Kong officers to indicate loyalty to Beijing, authorities broadcaster RTHK reported on Monday.
Those that fail to satisfy the necessities can be faraway from public workplace.
Tiananmen Moms memorial nixed
In the meantime, members of the Hong Kong Alliance for the Help of the Patriotic Democratic Motion in China gathered signatures in Mong Kok on Sunday, calling on members to the general public to point out solidarity with the Tiananmen Moms’ victims’ group, vowing to go forward with an annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen bloodbath on June 4.
Alliance vice chair Chow Hold-tung stated the group had lodged an utility with the police to carry the rally, and had not but acquired a reply.
The Leisure and Cultural Companies Division, which administers the soccer pitches the place the rally normally takes place, has stated it is not taking bookings for the dates in query, citing coronavirus considerations.
Chow’s transfer got here after the District Court docket handed jail phrases to jailed democracy activist Joshua Wong and three opposition members of the town’s District Council for attending final yr’s vigil in defiance of a police ban.
Wong was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment on Could 6, whereas district councilor Lester Shum was jailed for six months. Fellow councilors Tiffany Yuen and Jannelle Leung had been every handed four-month sentence.
All 4 had pleaded responsible to collaborating in final yr’s candlelight vigil, which was attended by 1000’s of individuals in Victoria Park regardless of a ban by the authorities, ostensibly to forestall the transmission of coronavirus.
Wong, Shum, and Yuen additionally stand accused of breaking the nationwide safety legislation after they took half within the democratic main.
Reported by Gigi Lee, Lee Tak On and Chan Yun Nam for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.