十二名英國、美國、加拿大、南非及馬來西亞的國際資深律師發公開信,指「雙學三子」黃之鋒、周永康及羅冠聰被判入獄,認為是有違「雙重定罪」原則,違反了聯合國《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》(公約),批評判三人入獄的《公安條例》過度限制公民基本權利,警誡「一國兩制」核心的法治精神以及基本自由現正受到嚴重威脅。

 

聯署信批評,2014年時中國白皮書明言有對香港的全面管轄權,並非中英聯合聲明中所指的「高度自治」。而三子所被控違反的公安條例,信中認為屬過度限制公民基本權利,與聯合國《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》相違背。

另外,信中又引述前終審法院包致金法官的話,「香港法官想保衛其司法獨立,但他們面對來自北京的壓力越來越多的」,又認為公安條例及2014年《一國兩制在香港特別行政區的實踐》白皮書或會成為任由中國共產黨使喚的藉口。

 

聯署信中包括英國前大法官兼司法大臣、6名英皇御用大律師,亦有已故中國諾貝爾和平獎得主劉曉波及其妻子劉霞的美國律師。

 

As lawyers, we regard the imprisonment of Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law in Hong Kong as a serious threat to the rule of law and a breach of the principle of “double jeopardy” in Hong Kong – in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

These student activists led the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong in 2014 – one of the most peaceful public protests the world has seen. Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were already punished by a court a year ago.
 
Joshua and Nathan respectively served 80 and 120 hours of community service, and Alex received a three-week suspended sentence. Yet the Hong Kong government decided to reopen the case and sought tougher punishments.

The law under which they were charged, the Public Order Ordinance, has been criticized by the United Nations for “facilitat[ing] excessive restrictions” to basic rights, and is incompatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which applies to Hong Kong. Human rights organisations have long urged Hong Kong to revise the ordinance to comply with the ICCPR.

Serious concerns over the independence of the judiciary arise. Court of Final Appeal judge Kemal Bokhary warned of “storm clouds” over the judiciary five years ago. Hong Kong’s judges want to protect its independence, but they face increasing pressure from Beijing. In 2014, China issued a White Paper declaring that Beijing has “comprehensive jurisdiction over Hong Kong” – instead of “the high degree of autonomy” provided for in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution. China also announced that Hong Kong’s judges are merely “administrators” who must love the country and be "subject to oversight by the central government”. The independence of the judiciary, a pillar of Hong Kong, risks becoming a charade, at the beck and call of the Chinese Communist Party.

Hong Kong’s rule of law and basic freedoms, at the heart of the principle of “one country, two systems”, now face grave threats.

Kirsty Brimelow QC
Patrick Burgess Australia – former head of human rights in the UN in East Timor and President of Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR).
Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC
Sir Desmond De Silva QC
Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC – former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Jared Genser – Freedom Now
Justice Richard Goldstone (South Africa)
Andrew Khoo (Malaysia)
David Matas (Canada)
Michael Mansfield QC
Rajiv Menon QC
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC – former chief prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic  

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