EU slams China for unfair trial of of 10 Hong Kongers
30 Dec 2020, 04:18 GMT+10
Brussels [Belgium], December 29 (ANI): The European Union on Tuesday slammed Beijing for human rights violations against 10 political activists from Hong Kong who tried to escape to Taiwan, urging authorities to ensure a fair trial and called for an immediate release of the Shenzen 12.
According to the South China Morning Post, government-appointed lawyers have told relatives of 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors (known as the Shenzen 12) arrested while attempting to flee to Taiwan that a mainland Chinese court will hand down verdicts for 10 of them on Wednesday, as per a concerned group that has been assisting the families.
The 10 defendants reportedly pleaded guilty on Monday at what the Yantian People’s Court in Shenzhen said was an “open trial” attended by family members while the two others facing no charges, as they are minors. However, family members said they were not allowed to attend the hearing.
It was also reported that no journalists or diplomats were allowed at the hearings.
“The defendants’ rights to a fair trial and due process – in accordance with international human rights law and as provided by China’s Criminal Procedure Law – have not been respected. We call on China to guarantee procedural fairness and due process of law for these individuals,” EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano said, as quoted in a statement.
The European Union also hit out at China as the defendants were not permitted to appoint lawyers of their choice, and access to them in custody has been heavily restricted. “The trial was not held in open court. Diplomatic representatives were unable to attend the court proceedings and the attendance of relatives of the detained was impeded,” he said.
Stano said, “The European Union calls for the immediate release of these 12 individuals and their swift return to Hong Kong.”This comes after Canada voiced its concern over the judicial procedures performed by Beijing on 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists – also known as the Shenzen 12 — who were detained in Shenzhen in August while attempting to flee to Taiwan as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) imposed the draconian National Security Law.
Ottawa has urged Chinese authorities to conduct trials on the basis of the Human Rights framework, reported Sputnik. London also expressed concern that the defendants were “tried in secret” and were denied access to lawyers of their choosing.
A group of rights activists was arrested off the coast of Hong Kong on August 23 while allegedly trying to flee to Taiwan by boat. The detainees have been charged for offences related to the city’s pro-democracy demonstrations due to the authoritarian National Security Law imposed by Beijing.
The Western nations have hit out at Beijing stating that the law undermines Hong Kong’s civil liberties and democratic freedoms.
The draconian law imposed on the city by the CCP criminalizes secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1. (ANI)