Hong Kong High Court Agrees to Hear Falun Gong Practitioners' Appeal in Obstruction Case
(Clearwisdom.net) The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeals approved Falun Gong practitioners' appeal against the remaining convictions of eight Falun Gong practitioners. Falun Gong practitioners welcomed the court's decision and said they would continue to clarify the truth as the case progresses to help more people learn about the vicious nature of Jiang's group. The following is background information:
On the morning of March 14, 2002, to protest the Jiang regime's "shoot to kill" and "kill without pardon" orders, sixteen Falun Gong practitioners, including four Swiss practitioners, started a three-day hunger strike in front of the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong. Under pressure from the China Liaison Office, Hong Kong authorities deployed a large number of police to forcibly remove and detain all 16 practitioners. The practitioners were falsely charged with "public obstruction" and "obstructing and assaulting police." After more than two years of legal proceedings, a Hong Kong Court of Appeals overturned all obstruction convictions but upheld five other charges including "assaulting police;" therefore, the practitioners will continue to appeal. On December 22, 2004, Andrew Li Kwok-nang, Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Committee and other committee members listened to the practitioners for over three hours. In the afternoon, permanent judge Kemal Bokhary announced that the practitioners will be allowed to appeal. The committee stated that the practitioners' claims of being illegally arrested by the police and the 14-month delay in the High Court's verdict are both worthy of discussion by the Court of Final Appeals, which is why the practitioners' request to appeal was approved. The initial hearing will be held in April or May of 2005.
Paul Harris, the practitioners' attorney said three things in court: 1. The legitimacy of the arrest is doubtful. 2. The judge who convicted the practitioners didn't consider the issue thoroughly and only took into account the rights of the pedestrians, not the rights of the appellants. 3. The practitioners appealed to the High Court and received a result 14 months afterwards, which is too long, and therefore unjust for the appellants. The court should consider compensation for the plaintiffs, including overturning the charges. The Court of Final Appeals accepted the first and the third point.
Attorney Paul Harris said that anyone who witnessed the arrest would not consider it legitimate. He proposed that abuse of power was involved in the arrest.
The practitioners welcomed the decision from the Court of Final Appeals. They said some Hong Kong government officials slandered the practitioners, some police officers gave false witness accounts, and the judge made an unjust decision, favoring the police. What they did is very similar to the actions of the Chinese government in persecuting Falun Gong practitioners in China. Lu Jie, one of the plaintiff practitioners said, "Jiang used villainous propaganda, slander, and lies that are ingrained in the Party to incite hatred among people. We want to expose the Jiang group's crimes because they are harming people and corrupting society's moral values. It is very dangerous if morality no longer exists in our society, because then no one will be safe."
On the morning before the hearing began, about 50 Falun Gong practitioners marched through Charter Garden, and then quietly sat outside the Court of Final Appeals to protest the persecution by Jiang's group until the court reached a decision in the afternoon. The practitioners said this case involves not only Falun Gong; it also has a significant impact on rule-of-law and human rights conditions in Hong Kong, both of which are of great concern for Hong Kong's citizens. Under a just legal system, the practitioners should eventually win the case.