05/07/2021, 10.42
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Jailed Democratic leader Wu Chi-wai, granted permission to attend his father's funeral

The High Court against prosecutors and police. Doubts about the prosecution's request to deal with the alleged fraud case involving Jimmy Lai under the National Security Act.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The High Court granted the former president of the Democratic Party Wu Chi-wai, now in prison, the opportunity to attend his father's funeral this morning. The request for temporary release was granted after an initial denial from the prison administration.

The funeral service is scheduled for the evening and the funeral tomorrow. Prison authorities explained their refusal by arguing that Wu's release from prison would create "security problems" for the public and prison staff. They had suggested the democracy activist follow the funeral in streaming, sparking furious protests from the family.

Wu is on trial for "taking part and inciting others" to participate in an unauthorized demonstration on July 1, 2019, in the midst of anti-government protests against the proposed extradition law. He is also among the 47 personalities facing a trial for organizing or taking part in primary elections in July 2020 to select Democrat candidates for the September parliamentary elections (later postponed).

Meanwhile, District Judge Stanley Chan has expressed doubts about the Attorney General's request to deal with the alleged fraud case involving Jimmy Lai under the National Security Act. According to the indictment, it will be difficult to proceed with the trial if it is not entrusted to a judge appointed by the executive to deal with the security threats.

Lai has been in prison for months accused of crimes against national security and for participating in two unauthorized demonstrations. The prosecutor also accuses him of illegally subletting some premises for Next Digital, the publisher of the pro-democracy Apple Daily. The offices are located in a building owned by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, a state-funded entity.

Chan said the prosecution would do better to gather evidence of the defendant’s guilt, instead of asking a specialized national security judge to facilitate the prosecution. A decision will be made at the end of the year, with the trial expected to open in March 2022.

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