The Independent writes moments ago:
The landmark trial of media mogul Jimmy Lai began in Hong Kong on Monday, with his lawyers seeking the dismissal of sedition charges due to the amount of time that had already lapsed when he was formally charged.
Mr Lai, 76, has already spent more than 1,000 days in detention since he was arrested in August 2020. He is facing charges of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security and conspiring with others to release seditious publications.
The China critic and founder of the now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was taken to the West Kowloon Law Court building by the Corrective Services Department vehicle around 7.30am local time on Monday.
Mr Lai is the most high profile of nearly 300 people arrested under the Beijing-imposed security law, and his trial is being closely watched as a test of press freedom and judicial independence in the Asian financial hub.
There was a heavy police presence outside the court as people queued to try and get a place in the public gallery, with some supporters camping out the night before. Hong Kong’s security chief warned last week any attempts to disrupt proceedings would not be tolerated…
…Mr Lai’s legal team led by Robert Pang Yiu-hung focused on the sedition charges, arguing that the prosecution had passed the time limit for charging the media tycoon. Under the colonial sedition law, charges must be laid within six months of the alleged offence.
Mr Pang said Apple Daily published its final edition on 24 June 2021 and the charge would have expired on 24 December. But the defendant was brought before the court for the first time on 28 December, at least four days after the “time bar” had expired.
“[The prosecution] is out of time therefore there’s no jurisdiction for the court,” Mr Pang told the judges, according to the South China Morning Post.
Having lived in Hong Kong for a decade I know where this trial is being held. West Kowloon is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The court building is located in this area.
Hong Kong changed in 2020 as COVID was used by China to stomp down on Hong Kongers’ rights to freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
More than 90% of the representatives elected in the 1999 election in Hong Kong were anti-China representatives so China changed the laws in the country to basically ignore all legislation from that chamber. The upper chamber and the country’s CEO are hand-picked by China.
Jimmy Lai was a courageous man who continued his stand for freedom and today he is being tried for his conviction.