03/29/2022, 13.39
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Extradition: faced with a western boycott, Hong Kong turns to Moscow

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council is set to approve two legal agreements signed in September with Russia. After the national security law was adopted, several countries suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong. The International Bar Association slams Hong Kong police for threatening activist Benedict Rogers.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) is set to give the green light to two legal agreements signed in September with Russia – one for the extradition of convicts, the other for mutual legal assistance – the pro-government Ming Pao newspaper reported yesterday.

Increasingly though, countries with an extradition agreement with the former British colony are being urged to suspend them because of Hong Kong’s repression of dissent on Beijing’s orders.

In addition to the transfer of sentenced people, which would allow convicts to serve time in their place of origin, the agreement with Russia would allow the two parties to work on identifying potential suspects, evidence gathering and executing search requests.

Hong Kong has extradition agreements with South Korea, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Singapore, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Following the adoption of the draconian national security law in the summer of 2020, imposed by Beijing to silence pro-democracy advocates, Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States put on hold their respective extradition agreements. France halted the ratification process of an agreement signed with Hong Kong.

The Chinese government imposed strict security measures in response to protests organised by pro-democracy groups in 2019, sparked by a bill that would have allowed Chinese courts to try Hong Kong residents. The bill was eventually dropped.

The security law also contains extraterritorial provisions, giving Hong Kong judicial authorities the power to issue arrest orders against people living abroad.

The human rights wing of the International Bar Association (IBA) has called for a boycott of the extradition agreements with Hong Kong to prevent Hong Kong and China from demanding the arrest and extradition of dissidents and critics.

The IBA made its views public after Hong Kong national security police threatened to prosecute human rights defender Benedict Rogers, CEO of the Hong Kong Watch website.

in a letter to Rogers, police ordered him to “immediately cease engaging in any acts and activities in contravention of the national security law or any other laws of Hong Kong.”

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