Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong will plead responsible within the metropolis’s largest nationwide safety case, native media reported, after being detained for greater than a yr with no trial date beneath the China-drafted regulation.
The already jailed former pupil chief is amongst 29 democracy advocates anticipated to enter responsible verdicts over subversion fees linked to a main held in July 2020, in response to native media shops together with HK01. Former regulation professor Benny Tai, protest organizer Jimmy Sham, and ex-lawmaker Claudia Mo have been amongst these anticipated to just accept the cost.
The 18 different defendants, together with former lawmaker “Lengthy hair” Leung Kwok-hung, will plead not responsible, native media reported.
Information of the anticipated responsible pleas got here a day after it was revealed Justice Secretary Paul Lam had ordered the case to be tried by a panel of three handpicked safety regulation judges, moderately than a jury. A lot of the plea intentions, nevertheless, have been entered between June 1 and July 6, in response to native newspaper Ming Pao.
Particulars from these court docket appearances have been solely made public Thursday when reporting restrictions on the case have been lifted, after a court docket in a separate landmark safety case the day earlier than overturned such limits.
The 47 activists are being prosecuted over their function in organizing a vote that drew greater than 600,000 voters to decide on candidates for Legislative Council elections. Authorities declare that occasion was a part of an unlawful try and paralyze the federal government.
Some 30 defendants have been held with out bail for greater than a yr, beneath the upper threshold set by the safety regulation, which Beijing imposed on town in June 2020 and carries sentences so long as life in jail.
Hong Kong courts have revoked bail for 2 defendants previously yr. Activist Owen Chow was rearrested on Jan. 13 for social media posts violating his launch phrases of “not making any speech that may be moderately deemed as endangering nationwide safety,” native media together with HK01 reported. Former union consultant Winnie Yu was sent back to jail on March 8 for a similar motive.
Solely two defendants have thus far fought safety regulation fees at trial. Each have been convicted and handed sentences so long as 9 years in jail, illustrating the excessive stakes for many who tackle the federal government. Final yr pro-democracy activist Tony Chung, who plead responsible, was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in jail — the lightest sentence handed down.
Nationwide safety police have made some 215 arrests, from which authorities has sought to prosecute not less than 114 folks.
—With help from Hayley Wong
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