GENEVA (9 October 2023) – UN experts* today expressed serious concern about the first mass trial of 47 people underway since February 2023 under the National Security Legislation (NSL) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the issuance of arrest warrants and bounties against pro-democracy figures from the Hong Kong SAR currently in exile overseas.
Reports indicate that Hong Kong SAR authorities have made at least 100 arrests under the NSL since it became law on 1 July 2020. Defendants in the first NSL trial include former elected legislators, activists, social workers, academics, trade unionists, and journalists who organised and stood for election in unofficial primaries in July 2020. The trial is expected to last until the end of 2023.
“We have expressed our concerns about the NSL to China in the past. We are very troubled about the use of mass trials in NSL cases and how they may negatively affect safeguards that ensure due process and the right to fair trial,” the experts said.