Ten out of the twelve individuals from Hong Kong, detained at sea by the Chinese authorities in August, went on trial in Shenzhen on 28 December.
The defendants were not permitted to appoint lawyers of their choice, and access to them in custody has been heavily restricted. The trial was not held in open court. Diplomatic representatives were unable to attend the court proceedings and the attendance of relatives of the detained was impeded.
The defendants’ rights to a fair trial and due process - in accordance with international human rights law and as provided by China's Criminal Procedure Law - have not been respected. We call on China to guarantee procedural fairness and due process of law for these individuals.
The European Union calls for the immediate release of these 12 individuals and their swift return to Hong Kong.