立場新聞 Stand News

Mainland lawyer rejected again to meet the 12 arrested Hongkongers

2020/9/10 — 10:49

Hong Kong Story member Andy Li, one of the 12 alleged Hongkongers fleeing to Taiwan who was accused of violating the National Security Law, is still detained in Shenzhen after being caught by the China coast guards on 23 August.

Mainland human rights lawyer Lu Siwei, assigned by one of the 12 involved families, requested, but was denied access, to meet his client at Yantian detention centre last Friday because of the notary procedure.

Yesterday (9 September) Lu, who went to the detention centre for the second time, said the public security officer would decide in the next 48 hours if he was approved to visit after notarizing the affidavit.

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Lu requested the public security to allow his visit because they had restricted his visitation rights. After more than an hour, the security informed him his client appointed two lawyers and therefore they would not arrange his meeting.

Lu said his client was forced to appoint two state lawyers and he is requesting to meet the client to verify the claim.

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Another mainland human rights lawyer Ren Quanniu also had similar experience. Ren told the Stand News that he got a call from the judiciary department on his return to Zhengzhou, Henan, and adviced him not to represent the case because “the case involved was tremendously important” and he was reminded to “pay close attention”.

The 12 arrested Hong Kong people has detained for 18 days. Three of their representing lawyers – including Lu – was denied access to their clients, which Lu said notarization was not abided by the criminal law.

On the same afternoon, lawyer Fan Biaowen, assigned by a detainee, was denied visit for the same reason, according to Cable News, which noted there were another denial case.

On Monday, Ren brought along the assignment letter but was denied. He told the Stand News that he worried about the case, which was handled by Public Security Department as a special case, would be elevated to national security level. That means the case would be ruled in the mainland or it would mean the accused would be pressured to accept the state lawyer for assistance.

Concern group: at least two lawyers on the Mainland pressured to leave the case

According to the '12 Hong Kongers Concern Group', at least two lawyers on the Mainland are pressured to leave the case. At present, no one could get in touch with the 12 arrested Hong Kong people.

According to the procedures on the Mainland, the procuratorate will make a decision within 37 days whether they authorise the arrest. If not, these suspects will be released.

In an interview dated 9th September, Ip Kwok-him, Hong Kong delegate to National People's Congress and a legislative councilor, expected that these Hong Kong people will be charged for illegal entry and related crimes.

Lu revealed that, from his meetings with the public security, he was convinced that his clients could be charged for ‘organising people in the secret crossing of the national boundary’, which is more serious than the alleged crime of illegal border-crossing.

According to the laws on the Mainland, illegal entry will lead to a sentence of less than a year of imprisonment, but to be charged for helping others with crossing the national boundary in secret will lead to a sentence ranging from two to seven years of imprisonment. For cases deemed serious such as those who are leaders of the crime or those who resist the arrest, it might result in life imprisonment.

The lawyers hired by the families of the arrested persons have faced pressures from the authorities. When he returned from Shenzhen last week, Lu received a call from the local judicial authorities asking him to file for record.

The 12 Hong Kong people were arrested on 23 August by the Mainland coastguards when they fled to Taiwan via Po Toi O in Sai Kung, and were subsequently kept at the Yantian Detention Center in Shenzhen.

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