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UK/Hong Kong: UK government ‘must publicly insist’ on Jimmy Lai’s immediate release

© AFP via Getty Images

Tuesday 26 September marks Jimmy Lai’s 1,000th day in detention

The UK government must publicly insist that the Hong Kong authorities release Jimmy Lai immediately’ - Sacha Deshmukh 

Ahead of Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper founder Jimmy Lai’s 1,000th day in prison (Tuesday 26 September), Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“It is totally unacceptable that Jimmy Lai, a British national and founder of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, has been detained for 1,000 days simply for exercising his right to free speech.

“I met Jimmy’s son Sebastien last week to hear first-hand about the impact that the unjust detention of Jimmy is having on him and his family. Given his age, a conviction for any of the national security charges against him could amount to a life sentence.

“The UK government must publicly insist that the Hong Kong authorities release Jimmy Lai immediately, along with all human rights activists detained simply for exercising their right to free expression in Hong Kong and China. 

“Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s notorious national security law should be repealed as a matter of urgency.”

Unjust convictions

Jimmy Lai, who is 75, has been subjected to unjust convictions and harsh sentences since December 2020, including unwarranted charges of inciting and participating in unauthorised assemblies. In 2021, the Hong Kong authorities forcibly closed the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily founded by Jimmy Lai. Lai’s trial on two counts of collusion with foreign forces under Hong Kong’s notorious national security law - as well as one charge of sedition - has been repeatedly postponed since last December. His latest trial date was originally scheduled for today (25 September) and is now further adjourned to 18 December. Conviction for collusion with foreign forces could result in a life sentence.

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