Detained Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai’s worldwide authorized group filed an pressing enchantment on Thursday with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Different Merciless, Inhuman or Degrading Therapy or Punishment. The group alleged that the Chinese language authorities tortured a key prosecution witness to coerce him into offering incriminating proof in opposition to Jimmy Lai.
Lai’s trial for prices beneath the National Security Law (NSL), specifically conspiracy to sedition, collusion with a international nation or exterior components to hazard nationwide safety and conspiracy to collude with international international locations, started on December 18. Lai is alleged to have persuaded international organizations to sanction Chinese language and Hong Kong governments and officers. As soon as his trial started, the Hong Kong authorities stated that it could be “inappropriate” for any individual to touch upon the case and “intrude with the judicial proceedings” utilizing political energy or media. After Lai’s problem on limitation was overruled and he pled not responsible, the prosecution began its case on January 2. Lai is already serving a six-year sentence for fraud and a 20-month sentence for his participation in a vigil commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath.
The witness in query is Andy Li, considered one of twelve fugitives captured at sea by the Chinese language coast guard in 2020. Li has been detained by the Chinese language authorities since August 2020 and was returned to Hong Kong in March 2021 after he completed serving his sentence for unlawful entry into China. Li pled responsible in August 2021 however the court docket postponed the sentencing listening to till after Jimmy Lai’s trial, which means Li has awaited sentencing for 28 months now since his plea.
In December 2023, the Washington Submit reported on its year-long investigation of the “Hong Kong Twelve” case. The report detailed the potential for Li being topic to bodily abuse and interrogations, quoting individuals who stated that screaming might “constantly” be heard coming from Li’s cell. One individual interviewed by the Washington Submit acknowledged it was probably Li confronted remedy “ten occasions worse” than the remainder.
The authorized group additionally supported their enchantment by quoting assist from two different reviews made by the US State Department and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, the lead lawyer, added that regardless of credible proof of torture and coerced testimony:
[the prosecution in Lai’s case] are relying upon Andy Li as a key witness. The Chinese language and Hong Kong authorities have to this point failed to research these issues, and in any occasion how might they credibly mark their very own homework? They need to now reply to the United Nations. Proof which is the fruit of torture and coercion ought to by no means be relied upon.
Earlier, Hong Kong had strongly refuted allegations about lack of due course of, stating that circumstances would “by no means be dealt with any in another way owing to the occupation, political opinions or background of the individuals concerned. To recommend in any other case is utter nonsense with out regard to goal info.”
The Convention against Torture and Different Merciless, Inhuman or Degrading Therapy or Punishment gives that no distinctive circumstances might justify acts of torture. Torture is outlined by the Conference as “any act by which extreme ache or struggling, whether or not bodily or psychological, is deliberately inflicted” on an individual for functions like acquiring info or a confession. The Conference additionally requires State Events to take efficient legislative, administrative, judicial or different measures to stop acts of torture in any territory beneath its jurisdiction. China signed and ratified the Conference in 1986 and 1988 respectively. Hong Kong can also be a signatory to the Conference.