Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

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

In unique photographs taken by The Related Press in latest weeks, the 75-year-old Lai could be seen with a ebook in his fingers carrying shorts and sandals and accompanied by two guards at Stanley Jail. He seems to be thinner than when he was final photographed in February 2021.

Lai is allowed out for 50 minutes a day to train. In contrast to 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 season solar earlier than returning to his unairconditioned cell within the jail.

The writer of the now-defunct Apple Each day newspaper, Lai disappeared from public view in December 2020 following his arrest below a safety legislation imposed by Beijing to crush a large pro-democracy motion that began in 2019 and introduced lots of of 1000’s 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 middle in Lai Chi Kok as they had been taken to and from court docket. Authorities began blocking this view in 2021 by making the detainees stroll by a lined pathway.

In a separate case, an appeals court docket is because of rule Monday on a problem that Lai and 6 different activists have had filed in opposition to their conviction and sentencing on prices 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 in opposition to 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 reality to energy for many years,” Lai’s son, Sebastien, mentioned in a Might assertion to a U.S. authorities panel, the Congressional-Govt Fee on China.

“He’s nonetheless talking reality to energy and refusing to be silenced, although he has misplaced the whole lot and he could die in jail,” Sebastien Lai mentioned. “I’m very proud to be his son.”

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

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

In Might, a court docket 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 may 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 essentially the most severe crimes resembling homicide.

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