Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s top court overturns acquittal of human rights lawyer

Reuters

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Hong Kong’s top court overturns acquittal of human rights lawyer
Chow Hang Tung has been detained since September 2021 at a maximum security women's prison and continues to defy Beijing’s campaign to subjugate the city from behind bars

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s top court on Thursday overturned the acquittal of activist and human rights lawyer Chow Hang Tung of inciting others to join an unauthorized vigil to remember victims of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Chow won an appeal at the High Court in December 2022 against her conviction and sentence over the banned candlelight vigil in 2021 which commemorated victims of the pro-democracy crackdown in and around Tiananmen Square.

However, a panel of five judges including Chief Justice Andrew Cheung, permanent judges Roberto Ribeiro, Joseph Fok, and Johnson Lam, and non-permanent judge Anthony Gleeson unanimously ruled in favour of the prosecution on Thursday.

Chow will face a retrial.

Despite the High Court overturning her conviction on the inciting unauthorized assembly charge, Chow was denied bail and has remained in jail as she faces a separate national security charge.

Chow has been detained since September 2021 at a maximum security women’s prison and continues to defy Beijing’s campaign to subjugate the city from behind bars.

Chow, 39, a human-rights lawyer, was the former vice-chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, a now disbanded group that previously organized the annual candlelight vigil.

Chow was charged with incitement to subversion, alongside two former Alliance leaders Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan, who also remain in custody awaiting trial. The security trial is expected to begin in the second half of this year.

The charge of incitement to subversion carries a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment.

The national security law, punishing subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism with up to life in prison, was imposed by Beijing on the financial hub in 2020.

Both the Hong Kong and Chinese governments said the law, which has been criticized by some Western governments and human rights groups, is necessary to restore stability after anti-government protests in 2019. – Rappler.com

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