URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
HKG 001 / 1120 / OBS 132.1
December 2, 2020
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership ofFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received newinformation and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation inHong Kong.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about thesentencing and ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Messrs. JoshuaWong and Ivan Lam, and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting, threepro-democracy activists, in connection with their participation in ademonstration in June 2019, during the wave of protests against the proposeddraft extradition law in the Special Administrative Region.
According to the informationreceived, on December 2, 2020, the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court found Messrs. Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam and Ms.Agnes Chow Ting guilty of “organising and taking part inan unauthorised assembly” near the police's headquarters at the start of thepro-democracy protests in June 2019, and of “inciting others to take part (seebackground information). Mr. Joshua Wong was sentenced to 13,5 months inprison, while Ms. Agnes Chow Ting and Mr. Ivan Lam were sentenced to 10 and 7months in jail respectively. The three defenders were imprisoned immediatelyafter the verdict. An application from Ms. Agnes Chow Ting for bail pending anappeal was reject by the Court.
The Observatory recallsthat this is not the first time that Mr. Joshua Wong and Ms. Agnes Chow Tinghave been targeted because of their legitimate exercise of their right to freedomof peaceful assembly. Mr. Joshua Wong is currently subject to several legalproceedings. Both Mr. Joshua Wong and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting were arrested varioustimes in the past 18 months.
The Observatorycondemns the sentencing and continuing judicial harassment and arbitrarydetention of Messrs. Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting, which seemto be only aimed at punishing them for the exercise of their right to freedomof peaceful assembly.
The Observatory callson the authorities of Hong Kong to immediately and unconditionally releasethem, and to put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judiciallevel, against them and all other pro-democracy activists and human rightsdefenders in Hong Kong.
On November 23, 2020, Messrs. JoshuaWong, Ivan Lam and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting were summoned to appear before the West Kowloon Magistrates' Court regarding theiralleged participation in a demonstration in front of Hong Kong PoliceHeadquarters on June 21, 2019, to demand retraction of the officialcharacterisation of the protests as "riots". Mr. Joshua Wong pleadedguilty to the charge of "inciting and organising an illegal gathering” butpleaded not guilty to the charge of “knowingly participating in an illegalrally”. Mr. Ivan Lam pleaded guilty to "incitement", while Ms. AgnesChow Ting pleaded guilty to "inciting and participating in thedemonstration". These offences are punishable with up to five years'imprisonment.
The three human rights defenderswere denied bail pending the verdict, held in pre-trial custody after thehearing and detained at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre until the verdict onDecember 2, 2020.
Mr. Joshua Wong was placed insolitary confinement for three days, as prison authorities feared he hadingested a “foreign object” prior to his detention. In his cell, the lightswere left on 24 hours a day, causing him difficulties to sleep. Moreover, hewas subjected to regular medical checks, although no foreign object was foundin his body.
Please write to the authorities of Hong Kong asking them to:
i.Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam andMs. Agnes Chow Ting;
ii.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychologicalwell-being of Messrs. Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam and Ms. Agnes Chow Ting;
iii. Putan end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, againstMessrs. Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam, Ms. Agnes Chow Ting, and all other humanrights defenders in Hong Kong, and ensure they are able to carry out theiractivities without hindrance and fear for reprisals;
iv.Respect, protect, and fulfil Hong Kong’s obligations in accordance with Article21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on theright to freedom of peaceful assembly;
v.Conform to all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human RightsDefenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particularits Articles 1, and 12;
vi.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments applicable to Hong Kong.
- Ms. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Email: email@example.com, Phone: +852 2878 3300, Fax: +852 2509 0580;
- Ms. Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, Secretary for Justice, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Phone: +852 2867 2198, Fax: +852 3918 4249;
- Mr. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration, Email: email@example.com, Fax: +852 2882 0099;
- Mr. Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Fax: +852 2810 2059;
Pleasealso write to the diplomatic representations of Hong Kong in your respectivecountries.
Paris-Geneva, December 2, 2020
Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
· Tel OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39
 See the Observatory Press Release “HongKong: 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