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Friday, December 1, 2023

AP will get uncommon glimpse of jailed Hong Kong pro-democracy writer Jimmy Lai

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HONG KONG — HONG KONG (AP) — Jimmy Lai, a former newspaper writer and considered one of Hong Kong’s most distinguished pro-democracy activists, spends round 23 hours a day in solitary confinement in a maximum-security facility whereas he awaits a trial that would ship him to jail for all times.

In unique images taken by The Related Press in current weeks, the 75-year-old Lai could be seen with a e-book in his fingers sporting shorts and sandals and accompanied by two guards at Stanley Jail. He appears thinner than when he was final photographed in February 2021.

Lai is allowed out for 50 minutes a day to train. Not like most different inmates, who play soccer or train in teams, Lai walks alone in what seems to be a 5-by-10-meter (16-by-30-foot) enclosure surrounded by barbed wire below Hong Kong’s punishing summer time solar earlier than returning to his unairconditioned cell within the jail.

The writer of the now-defunct Apple Day by day newspaper, Lai disappeared from public view in December 2020 following his arrest below a safety legislation imposed by Beijing to crush an enormous pro-democracy motion that began in 2019 and introduced a whole bunch of hundreds onto the streets. Greater than 250 activists have been arrested below the safety legislation and vanished into the Hong Kong authorized system.

Photographers used to have the ability to catch a glimpse of activists in remand at one other detention heart in Lai Chi Kok as they have been taken to and from courtroom. Authorities began blocking this view in 2021 by making the detainees stroll by a coated pathway.

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In a separate case, an appeals courtroom is because of rule Monday on a problem that Lai and 6 different activists have had filed towards their conviction and sentencing on expenses of organizing and collaborating in an unauthorized meeting practically 4 years in the past. The others are Lee Cheuk-yan, Margaret Ng, Leung Kwok-hung, Cyd Ho, Albert Ho and Martin Lee.

Lai, a British nationwide, is accused of colluding with international forces to hazard nationwide safety and conspiring to name for sanctions or blockades towards Hong Kong or China. He additionally faces a cost of conspiracy to print seditious publications below a colonial-era legislation more and more used to crush dissent.

He was scheduled to go on trial final December, however it was postponed to September whereas the Hong Kong authorities appealed to Beijing to dam his try to rent a British protection lawyer.

“My father is in jail as a result of he spoke fact to energy for many years,” Lai’s son, Sebastien, stated in a Might assertion to a U.S. authorities panel, the Congressional-Government Fee on China.

“He’s nonetheless talking fact to energy and refusing to be silenced, despite the fact that he has misplaced every little thing and he could die in jail,” Sebastien Lai stated. “I’m very proud to be his son.”

Lai is allowed two 30-minute visits by kin or buddies every month. They’re separated by glass and talk by cellphone.

In a separate case, he was sentenced in December to nearly six years in jail on fraud expenses.

In Might, a courtroom rejected Lai’s bid to halt his safety trial on grounds that it was being heard by judges picked by Hong Kong’s chief. That could be a departure from the frequent legislation custom China promised to protect for 50 years after the previous British colony returned to China in 1997.

Lai, who suffers from diabetes and was recognized with hypertension in 2021 whereas in detention, is handled as a Class A prisoner, a standing for inmates who’ve dedicated probably the most severe crimes resembling homicide.

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