Hong Kong’s first trial under national security hears closing arguments

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The trial of the first individual charged under Hong Kong’s national security legislation is about to wrap up on Tuesday, with the defendant denied bail and a jury in a landmark case that critics say is a departure from frequent legislation.

Former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, has pleaded not responsible to fees of terrorism, inciting secession in addition to an alternate cost of harmful driving inflicting grievous bodily hurt on July 1 final 12 months, shortly after the legislation was enacted.

Hong Kong’s frequent legislation has historically allowed defendants to hunt launch except prosecutors can present lawful grounds for his or her detention.

Under the brand new legislation, which some Western governments and rights teams say is getting used to crush dissent within the world monetary hub, the burden rests with the defendant to show they
is not going to break the legislation if launched on bail.

The governments in Beijing and Hong Kong have stated repeatedly the brand new legislation was essential to convey stability to the previous British colony after anti-government protests in 2019.

Tong’s trial is being presided over by three judges handpicked by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief, Carrie Lam, to listen to national security instances: Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan. There is not any jury.

Hong Kong’s Judiciary describes trial by jury as some of the vital options of the town’s authorized system, a common-law custom designed to supply defendants extra safety
towards authorities’ overreaching their energy.

Article 46 of the security legislation – drafted by Beijing, the place courts are managed by the Communist Party and conviction charges are near 100% – states three situations by which juries may be scrapped: defending state secrets and techniques, instances involving international forces and defending jurors’ security.

Tong, the first of greater than 120 folks arrested under the security legislation, is accused of driving his motorcycle into officers at a rally whereas carrying a flag with the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times”.

 

The interpretation of the protest slogan is a key aspect of the trial. The authorities has stated it suggests a name for independence, which might violate the security legislation. Defence legal professionals argue it’s a phrase with various meanings, together with the need for freedom and democracy.

Tong’s destiny may sign how the courts will deal with scores of different national security instances.

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