Detained veteran internet radio host “Giggs” Edmund Wan, who had been remanded in custody for over 19 months, was sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment on sedition and money laundering charges on 7 October. Wan is imprisoned for criticizing the government in his radio shows and fundraising for the education of young Hong Kong protesters now in Taiwan. Wan was targeted merely for exercising his right to freedom of expression through peaceful means. He must be released immediately.
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Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah
Department of Justice
G/F, Main Wing, Justice Place
18 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
Fax: (852) 3902 8638
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Qin Gang
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 / Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Chief Executive,
I am writing to express my grave concern for ‘Giggs
’ Edmund Wan Yiu-sing
), a veteran internet radio host who has been convicted and sentenced to 32 months on charges of seditious intention and money laundering.
It is alarming to learn that Giggs is imprisoned for his political comments on Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as for hosting a fundraiser for sponsoring the education of Hong Kong youths in Taiwan. Peaceful expression of opinion and public fundraising are permissible under international human rights law and standards, and must not be criminalized or otherwise excessively restricted through the use of vague national security offences.
I find it worrying that Wan was tried without a jury and unrestricted access to legal aid. In a judicial system increasingly tilting against the accused in cases that are perceived as “related to national security”, Wan has been convicted of money laundering despite the prosecution providing scant evidence to prove that the fundraising proceeds stemmed from illegal activities. It appears that the authorities are expanding the range of the tools they use to target peaceful activists like Wan.
It is distressing that the Hong Kong authorities are weaponizing colonial-era charges that have not been used since 1967 to target dissidents. Just this July, the UN Human Rights Committee in its Concluding Observations on the Fourth Periodic Report of Hong Kong have expressed concern
over the government using sedition charges to prosecute journalists and representatives of civil society exercising their right to freedom of expression. The prosecution of Wan violates international human rights laws and standards. The Committee urged the repeal of the sedition provisions in the Crimes Ordinance and an end to all cases against individuals charged for exercising their freedom of expression. The Hong Kong authorities should implement these recommendations immediately.
I therefore call on you to:
- Release Wan Yiu-sing immediately, as he was charged solely for peacefully exercising his human rights, and drop all charges against him;
- End the practice of bringing ‘national security’ charges against those who have simply exercised their right to freedom of expression or other human rights;
- Review and amend all laws and regulations, and end all related measures, that violate the exercise of human rights, to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.