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Hong Kong asks Beijing to adjudicate dispute over foreign lawyers | News

Hong Kong leader John Lee has asked Beijing to rule on whether foreign lawyers can work on national security cases.

Monday’s request came after Hong Kong’s Supreme Court rejected a bid by the city’s Justice Department to stop a British barrister from representing imprisoned media mogul Jimmy Lai.

Pro-democracy activists face charges of collusion landmark national security incident It is scheduled to start on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters hours after the final appeals court handed down its ruling, Li said he would ask the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress to interpret the matter, and that the government’s request to delay the start was ” appropriate.” Rai’s ordeal.

Li’s move is just the sixth time China’s top legislative body has considered legal issues in Hong Kong.

“There is no effective way to prevent foreign lawyers from creating a conflict of interest based on their nationality,” Lee told reporters. “We also have no means of ensuring that he is not coerced, compromised or controlled in any way by a foreign government, entity or person.”

Lee also said there was no way to keep foreign lawyers from divulging state secrets that could be revealed during national security trials.

Beijing imposed a comprehensive national security law on Hong Kong in June 2020. A few months ago, sometimes violent protests rocked Hong Kong. This law punishes acts of secession, subversion, acts of terrorism and collusion with foreign powers with up to life imprisonment, widely condemned By Western governments and human rights groups.

national security incident

Lai, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent critics of the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, including Xi Jinping, faces two charges of conspiring with other countries and his Apple Daily, which was forced to close. facing related sedition charges. In June 2021, a police search of the house and a freeze on the property took place.

A 74-year-old man arrested in December 2020 has already serve 20 months in prison For his role in unauthorized gatherings.he also expects sentencing against him fraud conviction next month.

Rye’s national security attorney is Timothy Owen, a London-based legal veteran who specializes in criminal and human rights law.

Hong Kong uses the same common-law jurisdiction as the United Kingdom.

Apart from placing foreign judges in city courts, lawyers from other common law jurisdictions can work within the city legal system, especially if some cases require their expertise. increase.

However, Hong Kong’s Justice Department has repeatedly attempted to prevent Owen from representing Lai.

Last month, a lower court authorized him to represent Lai on the grounds that it was in the public interest to involve a prominent foreign expert in the trial. dismissed the Department of Justice’s application for technical reasons.

A panel of three Supreme Court Justices (Chief Justices Andrew Chan, Roberto Ribeiro and Joseph Fock), in their written decision, criticized the Department of Justice: the following courts”.

But they left open the overarching question of whether foreign barristers should, in principle, be excluded from national security cases.

Legal experts and human rights groups expressed concern on Monday that Mr Li asked Beijing to intervene in his case.

Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun, former dean of the University of Hong Kong Law School, said Lee’s move was “actually the creation of new rules rather than an interpretation of existing laws.” “Such an interpretation has far-reaching implications that could seriously undermine Hong Kong as an international city,” he told the South China Morning Post.

Reporters Without Borders also criticized Lee’s move and called on the Hong Kong government to recognize a representative chosen by Lai himself.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/11/29/hong-kong-asks-beijing-to-rule-on-fight-over-foreign-lawyers Hong Kong asks Beijing to adjudicate dispute over foreign lawyers | News

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