onsdag 18. november 2020

Hong Kong national security law pits judges against justice officials in activist's trial

Hong Kong’s department of justice has asked that a national security judge take over the trial of an activist, even though he has not been charged with national security offences, in a move that underlines the erosion of the city’s independent legal system. It came as a senior Chinese official called for “judicial reform” in Hong Kong and three pro-democracy legislators were arrested.

Activist Tam Tak-chi is facing more than a dozen charges, including for “uttering seditious phrases” and advocating for an independent Hong Kong. He has been charged with sedition under colonial-era crimes laws, but on Tuesday the department of justice told the district court’s chief judge that Tam’s case may involve national security matters and thus should be overseen by a specialist judge, RTHK reported.

It also suggested that a national security judge must be appointed to decide on their request, a suggestion the chief judge, Justin Ko, rejected.