Hong Kong: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Alice Jill Edwards, has written a letter to the Chinese authorities urging them to address the claims that it has allegedly tortured Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai for obtaining evidence against him, a press release from the United Nations Human Rights Commission stated.
“I am deeply concerned that evidence that is expected to be presented against Jimmy Lai imminently may have been obtained as a result of torture or other unlawful treatment,” Edwards said. “An investigation into these allegations must be conducted immediately before any evidence is admitted into these present proceedings.”
Article 15 of the convention against torture states, “Any statement made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except in proceedings against an alleged torturer.”
Notably, China itself has ratified the same convention, according to the report.
The report further mentioned that a prime prosecution witness was subjected to torture, during his arrest at the Shenzhen prison in mainland China between 2020 and 2021.
“The use of torture and other coercive techniques, including use of fixed restraint chairs (tiger chairs), to force confessions has been well documented in mainland China. And the absolute prohibition of reliance on evidence obtained as a result of torture or other ill-treatment in any proceedings is a fundamental protection,” Edward claimed.
Citing a quote from Edwards the UNHRC press release said that it has urged the Chinese government to investigate these claims, adding that it has reminded the Chinese authorities that they must investigate all these allegations of torture, and further prosecute or extradite suspects, ultimately punishing those who are responsible for the act.
Jimmy Lai is a media mogul from China, who was arrested in 2020. He is among the ones who campaigned in support of free speech, freedom of the press, and democratic space in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
According to the report, Lai was arrested under the charges of “sedition and foreign collusion” under the National Security Law. The charges on Lai were laid because of his public statements about the negative impact of this legislation on fundamental rights and freedoms in the region.
The UNHRC report further added that Lai could face a life prison sentence if the charges levied upon him are proven. Earlier in January, several experts from the UN called upon the Hong Kong SAR authorities to drop all the charges against Lai immediately. Jimmy Lai’s trial is the second under the National Security Law in China. Last year, Beijing prosecuted 47 pro-democracy activists who were still awaiting their final verdict. (ANI)