The trial of ten of the twelve young Hong Kong fugitives, in the hands of the Chinese authorities since the end of August, ended without a verdict, Monday, December 28, in Shenzhen, after a few hours of hearing of which almost no details have filtered out, not even the presence of the accused on the spot, in person or by video. According to lawyers appointed by the authorities, the verdict will be announced on Wednesday, December 30.
Among the ten defendants tried on Monday, eight were accused of illegally crossing the Chinese border, an offense punishable by one year in prison, while two were accused of having organized this flight, a crime punishable by seven years in prison. They all had to plead guilty. The two minors in the group were to be tried separately.
The court said in an official statement that the trial was held “In accordance with the law and in an open manner, in the presence of the press and members of the families of the accused”. However, the support committee for the families of the defendants said Monday evening that no relative had been able to attend the hearing, nor any journalist from Hong Kong or abroad.
The journalists on the spot could only note the incessant police patrols around the building of the court, which had been surrounded by high barricades of protection. A handful of Western diplomats (from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, UK, Canada, US and Australia, according to various press reports) who intended to attend the trial also stayed behind. court gates.
“The unfairness of this legal process proves that it is obviously a question of political persecution”, estimated the support committee. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “Deeply concerned that some of the ‘Shenzhen Twelve’ have been tried in secret. We expect China to respect the law and that trials take place in a fair and transparent manner ”.
The United States called on Monday for the immediate release of the twelve youngs. “Their only crime is to have fled tyranny Said a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Beijing. “China is a rule of law, where the laws must be respected and offenders prosecuted”, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy, reacted, accusing the United States of“Ignore the facts, confusing good and bad”.
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