Worried that detained human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) might have been sentenced in secret, civic groups and legislators yesterday urged the government to take immediate action to protect Lee’s right to appeal.
Yesterday marked the 197th day since Lee went missing after a trip to China in March. Beijing later said he was being detained on charges of subversion of state power.
After a video was released of Lee confessing his crimes in court on Sept. 11, his situation has again become unknown, the groups said.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
The video showed that Lee was prosecuted on Aug. 8, and according to China’s Criminal Law, the court must reach a verdict within two month after accepting a case, Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) told a news conference yesterday.
Accounting for China’s national holidays, the deadline should be on Monday, he said.
As several human rights advocates have been sentenced in China without a public announcement, the groups are worried that his case would be handled the same way and Lee will lose his right to appeal, Judicial Reform Foundation executive secretary Hsiao I-min (蕭逸民) said.
“We urge the government to clarify whether there is already a ruling in Lee’s case, and if the court has already sentenced him, to determine if he will have the right to appeal,” he said.
“If the case is not yet closed, the government should ask when the court will reach a verdict and whether Lee’s family and concerned groups can attend the court session,” he added.
The Beijing-appointed defense lawyer in the video gave up his right to defend Lee based on “jurisdiction” and “exclusion of illegally obtained evidence,” Hsiao said, adding that the prosecutor presented 70 confession documents as evidence of Lee’s guilt.
Five of the six accounts on which Lee is being prosecuted took place in Taiwan, over which China’s courts do not have jurisdiction, so if Lee is sentenced for his actions in Taiwan and has no right to appeal, the case would affect the rights of all Taiwanese, Hsiao said.
Beijing is using Lee’s case to intimidate Taiwanese, sending a message that “even if you use the Internet in Taiwan to spread the message of democracy and freedom, you might be sentenced to prison when you come to China,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.
“The government needs to clearly express its view on this case,” New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) added.
‘SMEAR CAMPAIGN’: The ‘Global Times’ accused the DPP of offering politicians in Somaliland bribes and promoting Taiwanese independence by funding US think tanks The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday denounced China’s Global Times for disseminating disinformation about Taiwan, after the Chinese state-run newspaper claimed that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been bribing Somaliland politicians. Taiwan in August last year inaugurated the Taiwan Representative Office in the Republic of Somaliland, which is the nation’s only representative office whose title uses just the name “Taiwan.” The East African country also established a representative office in Taipei, despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations. The Chinese-language Global Times on Monday accused the DPP of offering Somaliland politicians and their families considerable bribes, citing anonymous sources. The International Cooperation
Phase 2 clinical trial results of the Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday were published on the Web site of The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine, in an early preview before publication. The study paves the way for other nations to issue emergency use authorizations or produce the Medigen vaccine, given The Lancet’s credibility as a highly respected medical journal with a rigorous peer-review process, Medigen’s international affairs director Lien Chia-en (連加恩) said. Lien said that the study is important as it proposes methods for converting international units for efficacy comparisons. The methods have been used for correlating the efficacy of hepatitis B
Ambassador Theaters on Tuesday announced that its Breeze Center cinemas in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) would close late this month after screening thousands of major Hollywood movies and local favorites over two decades. Ambassador Theaters, one of the largest cinema chain operators in Taiwan, said that Oct. 25 would be the last day the Breeze Center cinemas screen movies, adding that its lease expires on that day. “We sincerely appreciate the support and recognition from audiences in Taipei over the past 20 years,” the company said. “We look forward to seeing you again in the future.” The cinemas started operating in 2001, upon
BUMPING AROUND: A total of 143 people sustained fall injuries at MRT stations or inside trains over eight months, with a majority caused by ‘distracted walking’ Taipei Rapid Transit Corp yesterday urged people to avoid looking at their phones when walking, saying 73 cases of “distracted walking injuries” had occurred in the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system from January to August. As the local COVID-19 situation has been brought under control, passenger traffic has been increasing, reaching about 1.5 million rides per day last month, the company said. However, many passengers have been looking at their phones as they walk through MRT stations, which can lead to collisions with other passengers or injury from falling down stairs. A total of 143 people sustained fall injuries at MRT stations