Open letter signed by 25 international figures calls for the release of jailed pro-democracy protestors

Joshua Wong: Pro-democracy protestor

Joshua Wong: Pro-democracy protestor

On 18 August 2017, eminent international leaders, including the former British Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, Alissa Wahid, daughter of Indonesia’s former President Abdurrahman Wahid, and Myanmar’s Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, today issued a statement condemning the decision by the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong to jail three prominent pro-democracy student leaders, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow.

The statement, signed by twenty-five respected public figures including Parliamentarians, lawyers and civil society leaders from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Myanmar, describes “the decision by the courts in Hong Kong to sentence three courageous, principled young men to jail yesterday” as “an outrageous miscarriage of justice, a death knell for Hong Kong’s rule of law and basic human rights, and a severe blow to the principles of “One Country, Two Systems” on which Hong Kong was returned to China twenty years ago.”

In addition to Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served as British Foreign Secretary for the final two years before the handover of Hong Kong, from 1995-1997, and the former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, himself a former political prisoner, the signatories include the former Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, Lord Ashdown, the independent cross-bench Peer and human rights campaigner Lord Alton, the Chair of the UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission Fiona Bruce MP and the United States Congressman Chris Smith, Co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

The statement was also signed by the Burmese comedian and former political prisoner Zarganar,
Malaysian Member of Parliament Charles Santiago, the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Council of Malaysia Andrew Khoo, the Indian writer and activist John Dayal, Canada’s former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour, former Canadian Senator Consiglio di Nino, retired United States Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees, former Australian member of parliament Janelle Saffin, Charles Tannock, Member of the European Parliament and Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, former chief prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

Further reading: Hong Kong Free-Press; The Guardian

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