(Clearwisdom.net) The Sub-Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights is currently holding its 54th session at Palais des Nations in Geneva Switzerland during 29 July to 16 August 2002.

An advocate for Falun Gong practitioners delivered a speech on the Hong Kong trial at the Working Group of the Administration of Justice on 2 August. The representative expressed the hope that the Working Group would look into a grave case of violation of the right to a fair trial which is unfolding at this time in Hong Kong.

Madame Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen members of the Sub-Committee,

I take the floor on behalf of Interfaith International.

We wish to bring to the attention of the Working Group a grave violation of the right to a fair trial which is now taking place in Hong Kong.

From 17 June 2002, 16 practitioners of Falun Gong (4 Swiss and 12 Hong Kong nationals) were put on trial in Hong Kong, having done absolutely nothing against the law and with no proof to support the charges brought against them.

Falun Gong is a method for improving health through practising a set of slow and harmonious exercises. It leads to the application, in daily life, of the universal principles of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance which are the foundation for all human dignity.

This method was taught for the first time in China in 1992, and is now being practised by more than 100 million people in some 60 countries.

For several years the Chinese Government supported this school of Qigong. However, since an official inquiry brought to light the fact that the number of Falun Gong practitioners exceeded that of the members of the Chinese communist party, in 1999 the Government declared this method illegal. Millions of people have suffered from the resulting persecution which is condemned worldwide.

The trial involves 16 practitioners who, on 14 March 2002, peacefully and legally demonstrated in front of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong to call for a halt to the persecution.

Hong Kong is still subject to the British legal system, which includes, specifically, the right to peaceful demonstration on the public walkway.

The Hong Kong police intervened in a very brutal manner.

The main charges brought against the 16 practitioners are for obstructing the public walkway and assaulting the police. Yet all the photographs and videos taken at the time show clearly that that was not the case.

The police, moreover, used an acupressure technique (clearly seen in the photographs) to incapacitate the practitioners and subject them to intense pain.

Possible sentences run from a fine to several years' imprisonment (two to five years).

The right to a fair trial and to be judged by an impartial judge is being flouted.

From the outset of the trial, a marked imbalance could be seen between the rights of the prosecution and those of the defence.

The prosecution was able to cite more than 25 witnesses for the prosecution, with an examination time disproportionate to that granted to the defence.

These hearings lasted four weeks, although the initial duration envisaged by the judge for this trial was 11 days.

Defence counsel is frequently interrupted by the judge who makes derogatory personal remarks against the defence.

Cross-examination by the defence has allowed false statements made by prosecution witnesses to come to light.

There is worse. Several weeks into the trial, the prosecution, observing that the initial charges could not be sustained, is in process of changing the main charge to incorporate political motivation.

This step is very dangerous because the possible sentences are much heavier.

From the outset of this trial we have seen a travesty of justice.

We intercede here today to ask that the right to be judged by an independent and impartial court, in conformity with HK's laws, be respected.

Thank you, Madam Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your attention.