UK ‘Deeply Involved’ Over 12 Hong Kong Activists on Trial in China

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UK International Secretary Dominic Raab mentioned the nation is “deeply involved” over the destiny of 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists who stay in detention in China’s Shenzhen metropolis, 10 of whom had been secretly placed on trial on Dec. 28.

“We’re deeply involved that members of the Shenzhen 12 had been tried in secret right this moment, having been given simply three days’ discover of their trial,” Raab mentioned in a press release.

“Diplomats from Britain and quite a lot of different nations tried to attend the court docket proceedings however had been denied entry,” he mentioned.

The 12 activists, aged from 16 to 33, had been captured by Chinese language coast guards in August as they set out on a ship to the self-ruled island of Taiwan.

Ten of them had been formally charged on Dec. 16 after being held nearly incommunicado in a mainland jail for greater than three months. They had been placed on trial on the Yantian District Folks’s Court docket in Shenzhen on Monday.

Two had been charged with organizing unlawful border crossings, whereas eight others had been accused of participating in a border crossing operation. The court docket mentioned it can maintain closed-door trials to determine on the remaining instances for the 2 juveniles.

“The Shenzhen 12 haven’t had entry to attorneys of their selecting, elevating additional critical questions on entry to authorized counsel in mainland China,” Raab mentioned.

He urged the Chinese language regime to “uphold the rule of regulation and conduct trials in a good and clear method, in line with the fundamental necessities of worldwide human rights regulation.”

Additionally on Monday, the U.S. embassy in Beijing known as on Chinese language authorities to right away launch the 12 Hong Kong activists and allow them to depart the nation.

“Their so-called ‘crime’ was to flee tyranny. Communist China will cease at nothing to forestall its individuals from searching for freedom elsewhere,” the embassy mentioned in a press release.

Illegal border crossing is punishable by as much as one 12 months in jail underneath Chinese language regulation. Organizers of such makes an attempt might face two to seven years, and, in some “particularly critical” instances, life imprisonment.

The 12 activists had been beforehand arrested in Hong Kong for his or her involvement within the pro-democracy motion, which was borne out of discontent final summer season over Beijing’s rising encroachment on the town’s autonomy.

Eva Fu and Reuters contributed to this report.

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