tirsdag 10. januar 2023

Hong Kong: Jimmy Lai's UK lawyers call for meeting with Rishi Sunak

Jailed Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's international legal team have asked UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for an urgent meeting ahead of his trial on national security charges later this year. The trial on charges of colluding with foreign forces and sedition could see Mr Lai - who holds British nationality - spend the rest of his life in prison. In the letter, seen by the BBC, Mr Lai's international legal team say they want to discuss "potential ways to secure Mr Lai's release". The lawyers describe the case against him as "deeply concerning" and "emblematic".

Jimmy Lai has already been in detention for two years, facing numerous charges. In December he was sentenced to an additional five years and nine months for breaking a lease agreement at the newspaper's headquarters. His supporters say all the charges against him are politically motivated.

Mr Lai founded pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. For more than 25 years his tabloid was seen as the only opposition newspaper in Hong Kong. However, the newspaper was forced to close in June 2021 when its accounts were frozen and a number of senior staff were arrested under Hong Kong's national security law.