HONG KONG (Reuters) – Foreign governments criticized the arrest of 15 Hong Kong democracy activists in a police sweep on prices of organizing and collaborating in anti-government protests final 12 months.
FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong politician Martin Lee and Founder of Next Media Jimmy Lai march throughout a protest to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition invoice with China, in Hong Kong, China March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
The arrests on Saturday have been the most important crackdown on town’s pro-democracy motion because the outbreak of mass protests final 12 months.
The International Bar Association stated the authorities mustn’t encroach on human rights and the authorized system should guard in opposition to any abuses of energy when the world was preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The United States condemns the arrest of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong,” U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated.
“Beijing and its representatives in Hong Kong continue to take actions inconsistent with commitments made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that include transparency, the rule of law, and guarantees that Hong Kong will continue to ‘enjoy a high degree of autonomy’,” he stated.
The arrested supporters of the pro-democracy motion included Democratic Party founder and barrister Martin Lee, 81, millionaire publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, 71, and former lawmaker and barrister Margaret Ng, 72.
Police stated these arrested have been aged between 24 and 81, they usually have been detained on prices of organizing and collaborating in “unlawful assemblies” on Aug. 18 and Oct. 1 and 20 final 12 months.
Major and sometimes violent demonstrations broke out throughout the previous British colony on these days.
They have been all because of seem in courtroom on May 18. Police stated extra arrests have been attainable.
Some of these arrested have been launched on bail late on Saturday.
In Britain, a Foreign Office consultant stated the federal government anticipated any arrests and courtroom procedures to be “conducted in a fair and transparent manner”.
TRUST AND DIALOGUE
The Foreign Office additionally stated the precise to peaceable protest was “fundamental to Hong Kong’s way of life” and authorities ought to keep away from “actions that inflame tensions”.
“The authorities should focus on rebuilding trust through a process of meaningful political dialogue,” the Foreign Office stated.
The Hong Kong authorities defended the arrests, which town’s Security Bureau stated have been carried out consistent with the regulation.
“In Hong Kong, everyone is equal before the law … No one has any special privileges,” stated a bureau spokesman.
The International Bar Association condemned the arrests of Lee and Ng, who’ve been energetic human rights and rule of regulation campaigners throughout their careers.
It was very important that justice was utilized transparently in Hong Kong, particularly whereas the world is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, it stated.
“It is critical that authorities do not use their powers to encroach on fundamental human rights, and it is vital that legal systems continue to protect citizens from any abuse of power which may otherwise be unseen during the COVID-19 crisis in which the international community is submerged,” it stated in an announcement emailed to Reuters.
In a particular report revealed on Tuesday, three of Hong Kong’s high judges instructed Reuters that the independence of town’s judicial system is below assault from the Communist Party management in Beijing. The judiciary, they stated, is in a combat for its survival.
Hong Kong returned to Beijing in 1997 below a “one country, two systems” system that ensures it broad freedoms not seen in mainland China, and a excessive diploma of autonomy.
Reporting by Scott Murdoch; Editing by Robert Birsel