Hong Kong: pro-democracy mogul Jimmy Lai freed on bail

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Hong Kong | Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, detained for violating Beijing’s national security law, was released on bail Wednesday, a move with very strict conditions.

Mr. Lai, very critical of Beijing, is one of the best-known Hong Kong personalities to be targeted by this legislation imposed in June by Beijing to restore calm in the territory after more than six months of protests in 2019 .

He is accused of “collusion with foreign powers” for calling on foreign governments to sanction Hong Kong and China in response to Beijing’s policy in the semi-autonomous territory.

At 73, the boss of the tabloid “Apple Daily” was placed in pre-trial detention on December 12 by a magistrate in charge of national security.

His lawyers had appealed against this decision and on Wednesday, a judge of the High Court of Justice of the city decided to release him on bail.

Magistrate Alex Lee, one of the magistrates of this high court responsible for dealing with national security matters, ordered his release on payment of a bail of ten million HKD (one million euros) and a number of measures.

Under house arrest, he must surrender his passport and is not allowed to meet with representatives of governments or foreign institutions deemed hostile to China.

Mr. Lai has also been banned from posting on social media and making any statements to the media.

The rules of the court prohibit the press from revealing in detail the legal arguments presented by the defense and the prosecution during the release hearing.

The “Apple Daily” had however indicated that the main part of the proceedings against the magnate concerned tweets and interviews that he had given to the media since the entry into force of the law on national security.

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