Hong Kong: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of 3 pro-democracy activists

25/11/2020
Urgent Appeal

HKG 001 / 1120 / OBS 132
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Hong Kong
November 25, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Hong Kong.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Messrs. Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam, and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting, three pro-democracy activists, in connection with their participation in a demonstration in June 2019, during the wave of protests against the proposed draft extradition law in the Special Administrative Region.

According to the information received, on November 23, 2020, Messrs. Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting were summoned to appear before West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court regarding their alleged participation in a demonstration in front of Hong Kong Police Headquarters on June 21, 2019, to demand retraction of the official characterisation of the protests as "riots". Mr. Joshua Wong pleaded guilty to the charge of "inciting and organising an illegal gathering", but pleaded not guilty to the charge of “knowingly participating in an illegal rally”. Mr. Ivan Lam pleaded guilty to "incitement", while Ms. Agnes Chow Ting pleaded guilty to "inciting and participating in the demonstration". These offences are punishable with up to five years’ imprisonment. The three human rights defenders were held in pre-trial custody after the hearing and are currently detained at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre. The verdict in the case involving all three defendants is expected to be delivered on December 2, 2020.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time that Mr. Joshua Wong and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting have been targeted because of their legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Mr. Joshua Wong is currently subject to several legal proceedings. Both Mr. Joshua Wong and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting were arrested various times in the past 18 months. [1]

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Messrs. Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting, which seem to be only aimed at punishing them for the exercise of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and calls on the authorities of Hong Kong to immediately and unconditionally release them, and to put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them and all other pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Hong Kong asking them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Messrs. Joshua Wong, Ivan and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam, Ms. Agnes Chow Ting, and all other human rights defenders in Hong Kong, and ensure they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance and fear for reprisals;

iv. Respect, protect, and fulfil Hong Kong’s obligations in accordance with Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly;

v. Conform to all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, and 12;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments applicable to Hong Kong.

Addresses:
• Ms. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Email: ceo@ceo.gov.hk, Phone: +852 2878 3300, Fax: +852 2509 0580;
• Ms. Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, Secretary for Justice, Email: dojinfo@doj.gov.hk , Phone: +852 2867 2198, Fax: +852 3918 4249;
• Mr. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration, Email: cso@cso.gov.hk, Fax: +852 2882 0099;
• Mr. Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Email: cmabenq@cmab.gov.hk , Fax: +852 2810 2059;

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Hong Kong in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, November 25, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

[1] See the Observatory Press Release “Hong Kong: Immediately release for pro-democracy activists”, published on August 30, 2020, and available here: https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/hong-kong-immediately-release-four-pro-democracy-activists

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