#HongKong “For the law must serve the people, not the people the law"

Barrister Margaret Ng speaking at her sentencing, alongside 7 veteran pro-democracy & human rights figures, inc Martin Lee QC & Jimmy Lai, convicted on 1 April for taking part in August 2019 protests.
Powerful sentencing remarks by Margaret Ng, 73 year old barrister & former legislator at her own sentencing hearing.

She adds “The law should give protection to rights, not take them away, especially in Hong Kong, where structural democracy is still absent”.
Today’s critical question posed in this Hong Kong court 👇🏼:-
“Not only is the freedom to speak the truth the core of human dignity, it is also the last safety valve in a democratic society, as remarked by our illustrious judges repeatedly. Respecting those rights is also part and parcel of defending the rule of law.”

Margaret Ng, today.

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More from @WomaninHavana

16 Apr
Breaking News from Hong Kong: Senior lawyers Martin Lee QC, Margaret Ng & Albert Ho have been handed suspended sentences.

Jimmy Lai & other pro-democracy veterans Lee Cheuk-yan, Cyd Ho, Leung Kwok-hung jailed immediately, sentences ranging from 8 to 18 months. H/t @alvinllum
Here is the detail of the sentences passed, said to be “deterrent”.
Summarising the Hong Kong developments today in the NYT, @austinramzy. nytimes.com/2021/04/16/wor…
Read 4 tweets
13 Apr
#FreedomofExpression judgments from @ECHR_CEDH on journalists in Turkey today, pending since 2017. #AhmetAltan, convicted of "aiding a terrorist organisation" for 3 columns, imprisoned for 4 years 7 months already. Court finds violations of Articles 5(1) (4) & 10, but not Art 18.
We @BarHumanRights have followed & monitored the trial of #AhmetAltan, as well as many others in Turkey. I was privileged to witness his release, but we were amongst so many deeply concerned to see his re-arrest in November 2019.

Then I said: "Re-arresting him now, following his public criticism of the Turkish authorities upon his release, has all the appearance of a further abuse of power, by way of politically-motivated and/or judicial harassment."

Now, Turkish authorities must release him immediately.
Read 4 tweets
18 Mar
Nobody is above the law. A basic premise of the rule of law.

Judicial review acts as an essential check to ensure the government acts within the law.

That *is* its intended purpose.
Here's the Faulks Review of judicial review. I haven't had time to do more than skim the conclusions yet.

They note "the submissions are without exception opposed to, or at best not persuaded of, the need for reform."

Now the govt is asking again... consult.justice.gov.uk/judicial-revie…
The concluding observations of the Faulks review counsel a high degree of caution. They are polite, but they are extremely firm.

“The govt should think long and hard before seeking to curtail (the independence of the judiciary).”
Read 4 tweets
12 Mar
The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental, empowering right (in domestic & international law) which enables active participation & citizenship outside of narrow politics.

IMO, the constraints proposed constitute unwarranted & disproportionate interference with the right.
The obligation to respect and ensure peaceful assemblies places positive and negative obligations on States. States must not prohibit, restrict or block peaceful assemblies without compelling justification, nor sanction participants or organisers without legitimate cause.
On the flip side, States must facilitate peaceful assemblies and ensure the provision of a legal framework in which the right to peaceful assembly can be exercised effectively.

Although the right is not unrestricted, the burden is on the authorities to justify restrictions.
Read 5 tweets
1 Mar
#HongKong Crowds gathered outside court as 47 pro-democracy candidates, campaigners & activists are charged with conspiracy to commit subversion under national security law #NSL.

The prosecutions, a clear statement of intent, are descending into farce. Trouble in Hong Kong. 🧵
Hard to know where to begin with this statement.
The evidence being relied upon predates the #NSL which is said not to be retroactive. And yet...
Read 13 tweets
8 Feb
This is bitterly disappointing, a low blow.

Last week @BarHumanRights, in supporting the #GenocideAmendment, restated its concern that the Govt position - to maintain the status quo - may be used to justify inaction in the face of credible evidence that genocide is occurring.
See the full text of our @BarHumanRights statement supporting #GenocideAmendment.

It allows courts to do what they do well- adjudicate on the facts - & Parliament to take informed decisions on the basis of a preliminary legal determination.
Any proposal by govt to substitute a judicial determination of genocide for one by @CommonsForeign is circular. The Committee *already* has that power, it has used it before & been ignored. The long-standing govt position is a court determination is required.
Read 4 tweets

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