Lawyers for a jailed Hong Kong pro-democracy publisher have asked for an urgent meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a leading member of his international legal team said yesterday.
Jimmy Lai, the 75-year-old founder of the now-defunct newspaper Apple Daily, was arrested in 2020 during a crackdown on the city’s pro-democracy movement. He is fighting collusion charges under a Beijing-imposed national security law and faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Last month, the team called for the U.K. government to take immediate action to secure Lai’s release ahead of his high-profile national security trial after he was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison on fraud charges linked to lease violations. The meeting request is the latest attempt from his legal team to urge the British government to step into the case of Lai, who is a dual Hong Kong and British citizen.
Caoilfhionn Gallagher, leader of the team, said Lai’s son was in London this week to call on British officials to protect his father.
“He is being subjected to ‘lawfare’ – multiple prosecutions and lawsuits, all designed to silence and discredit him and send a clear message to others that they should not dare to criticize the Chinese or Hong Kong authorities,” she said in an email reply to The Associated Press.
British officials did not comment immediately yesterday. MDT/AP