The 10 Hong Kong activists who went on trial in Shenzhen China on Monday cannot appoint their own lawyers, will not get a fair and open trial, and should be released forthwith, the European Union’s diplomatic service has stated.
The 10 are part of a group of 12 Hong Kong freedom activists between the ages of 16 and 33 who, while en-route to the self-ruled island of Taiwan to seek political asylum in August, were captured in the South China sea by Chinese authorities.
“The European Union calls for the immediate release of these 12 individuals and their swift return to Hong Kong,” a European Union External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.
Two of the 10 Hong Kongers were charged with organizing illegal border crossings, while eight others were accused of taking part in a border crossing operation. The Chinese court said it will hold closed-door trials to decide on the remaining cases for the two juveniles from the group of 12.
The EEAS said the ten on trial were “not permitted to appoint lawyers of their choice” that any access to them whilst they were in custody had been “heavily restricted” and that the trial was “not held in open court.”
The EEAS said diplomats were not allowed to attend the proceedings and called for China to guarantee due process of law for those on trial.
The attendance of relatives was also obstructed in China’s failure to respect the defendants’ rights under its own Criminal Procedure Law, the EEAS said.
Members of #Shenzhen12 tried in secret today in Shenzhen at just three days’ notice without access to lawyers of their choosing.
China must uphold the rule of law and respect the basic principles of international human rights lawhttps://t.co/oMMYzDROIs
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) December 28, 2020
On Monday Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement that the country is “deeply concerned” over the fate of the 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists who had “been given just three days’ notice of their trial.”
The EU’s call for the release of the 12 Hong Kongers comes on the same day as it also called for the Chinese regime to release a citizen journalist who was jailed for reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.
Chinese citizen journalist Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday when she became the first known reporter to be sentenced by Beijing for providing first-hand information about the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic inside China.
In a statement, the EU delegation to China cited “credible sources” as saying that Zhang had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment during her detention and her health condition had seriously deteriorated.
Alexander Zhang and Eva Fu contributed to this report.