Why is 90-year-old Cardinal Zen standing trial in Hong Kong? | News

Political activist Alex Chow has not forgotten the kindness of Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the retired head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, who came visiting him when he was behind bars 5 years in the past.

Cardinal Zen has lengthy been recognized for his work as a jail chaplain. On the day Chow met him on the Pik Uk correctional centre, a most safety jail in Hong Kong’s New Territories, the aged priest had taken a public minibus to the jail, some 40 minutes trip into the hills from the densely-packed metropolis.

The 2 talked for 45 minutes, “possibly an hour”, with the jail officer giving up his seat so Zen, then in his mid-80s, might sit down.  For Chow, jailed for his function within the peaceable 2014 Occupy Hong Kong protests, the cardinal was a supply of consolation and reassurance and a much-needed connection to the surface world.

“It meant lots to me,” Chow, who was later launched on bail forward of the attraction he finally gained, instructed Al Jazeera. “I might see his real concern for others and staunch opposition to injustice. I felt like I used to be genuinely in his prayers and one of many individuals he cared about.”

The 90-year-old former head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong now faces a trial of his personal.

On Monday he’ll face courtroom with 5 others, together with fashionable Cantopop singer and LGBTQ activist Denise Ho, and lawyer Margaret Ng over a now-defunct fund that they set as much as assist pay the authorized charges of individuals going through trial in relation to the 2019 protests.

They had been arrested in early Could below the Nationwide Safety Regulation and accused of “colluding with overseas forces”.

Launched on bail, they had been charged on Could 24 with failing to register the fund.

From left, Hong Kong scholar Hui Po-keung, Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen, barrister Margaret Ng and singer Denise Ho arrive for an appearance at a court in Hong Kong
Cardinal Zen was leaning on a strolling stick for assist as he arrived in courtroom with fellow defendants – scholar Hui Po-keung, left, lawyer Margaret Ng and singer Denise Ho – in Could [File: Kin Cheung/AP Photo]

All have pleaded not responsible and, within the 5 days allotted for proceedings, their defence is anticipated to argue that the group had a proper to affiliate below Hong Kong’s Primary Regulation, the mini-constitution that has been in place for the reason that British handed the territory over to China in 1997.

Beijing imposed the safety regulation in June 2020.

“The Chinese language authorities needs to chop off all types of organizing and solidarity that run exterior of the Communist Celebration’s management in Hong Kong,” William Nee, analysis and advocacy coordinator at Chinese language Human Rights Defenders, mentioned in an emailed response to questions. “The truth that Cardinal Zen is compassionate, caring, and well-respected in Hong Kong truly makes him a risk to the ruling authorities.”

Vatican criticised

Zen was ordained in 1996 and named Bishop of Hong Kong in 2002, turning into the chief of the territory’s Catholics, now numbering greater than 400,000. In 2006, in a ceremony in Rome, he was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict.

All through his profession, Zen has proven assist for democratic reform and giving the individuals of Hong Kong extra say of their authorities. He held a “walkathon” for common suffrage, plenty in remembrance of the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Sq. and visited the Occupy Hong Kong website to supply ethical assist to the 1000’s who had gathered there.

After his retirement in 2009, Zen turned extra vital of Beijing, which broke off relations with the Vatican in 1951 and created its personal Communist Celebration-led Chinese language Patriotic Catholic Affiliation. He has been particularly vital of a 2018 deal below which Pope Francis recognised seven bishops appointed by Beijing, which was speculated to deliver the mainland’s Catholics, thought to quantity about 12 million, collectively.

“Cardinal Zen made the last word self-sacrifice,” Andreas Fulda, writer of The Battle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, instructed Al Jazeera in emailed feedback. “Deep down he will need to have recognized that the dictatorship in Beijing would by no means budge. Undeterred he advocated for Christians in mainland China. Firmly dedicated to the precept of non-violence he was a part of an influential ecumenical alliance of religion leaders advocating for liberal democracy in Hong Kong.”

Pope Benedict XVI (L) gives the ring to new cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun during a Holy Mass in St. Peter Square, Saturday 25 March 2006 i
Zen turned the pinnacle of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong in 2002 and was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict in March 2006 [File: Ettore Ferrari/EPA]

The Catholic Church has been criticised for failing to take a firmer stand over Zen’s arrest and trial.

After he was charged on Could 24, pictured strolling into courtroom leaning closely on a stick, the church launched a brief assertion noting that he had pleaded not responsible and that it will “intently monitor” occasions.

“Cardinal Zen is all the time in our prayers and we invite all to wish for the Church,” it concluded.

On Thursday, when the pope was requested about spiritual freedom in China and Zen’s looming trial, he mentioned that whereas it was “not straightforward to know the Chinese language mentality”, it needed to be “revered”, based on a report in Catholic Information.

On Zen, he mentioned: “He says what he feels and we see that there are limitations [in Hong Kong]”.

The pope, who spoke as he flew house from the Congress of Leaders of World and Conventional Religions in Kazakhstan, added that he most popular to “select the trail of dialogue”.

Reviews mentioned China’s President Xi Jinping, who was additionally on the assembly, refused an invite for talks with the pope as a result of his schedule was full.

‘Goal of life’

Zen’s trial is the newest in reference to the 2019 protests, which started with mass marches in opposition to a proposed invoice that may permit extradition to the mainland and, amid a perceived lack of motion from the federal government and heavy-handed police ways, developed into generally violent calls for for extra democracy within the Chinese language-ruled territory.

The group arrange the 612 Humanitarian Aid Fund in July 2019, naming it after the primary severe confrontation between protesters and police the earlier month exterior the barricaded constructing of the Legislative Council the place politicians had been resulting from debate the contentious invoice. Police used rubber-coated bullets and tear fuel in opposition to protesters, and dozens had been arrested.

They wound up the fund in October final 12 months after police introduced that it was below investigation.

The fund’s closure, and the trial of those that based it, may even have repercussions for the 1000’s going through costs from the 2019 protests whose authorized prices might run into the lots of of 1000’s of Hong Kong {dollars}.

CHRD’s Nee mentioned the shortage of funding choices might undermine these defendants’ proper to a good trial.

“It was attainable earlier than to crowdsource a few of these prices however by chopping off the flexibility to take action, Beijing will make it way more troublesome for individuals to afford the authorized assets to mount a strong defence,” he famous.

Zen has been out on bail pending trial.

At his first public look after his arrest, he addressed the Salesian Vocations Workplace (China Province) about his motivations in life and why he had entered the priesthood.

He famous that the world was “chaotic” and that some had been pushed by the necessity to pursue “cash, wealth, and energy” however he believed life meant studying what it means to be an individual of integrity, full of a way of justice and kindness.

“That is the aim of life,” the retired bishop mentioned.

Regardless of his longstanding assist for democratic reform, Zen had largely averted any backlash from the authorities.

After the bishop’s arrest, newly-installed Hong Kong chief John Lee, a former police officer and safety chief, mentioned the arrest was not associated to Zen’s background or beliefs, however that individuals who broke the regulation wanted to be held to account.

For Chow, now residing in the US, the choice to arrest and prosecute a person many in Hong Kong regard because the territory’s “ethical conscience” is additional proof of how a lot the territory has modified.

“Him being prosecuted is telling,” he mentioned. “It actually reveals how the Hong Kong authorities has shifted its mentality [and] the long run trajectory of the way it would possibly method spiritual freedom or political speech; whether or not Hong Kong will stay a free society or whether or not that’s lengthy gone.”

Ex-Manchester United star Ryan Giggs goes on trial for assault | Football News

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs has gone on trial on prices of attacking and coercively controlling his ex-girlfriend, in a case that has upended his managerial profession.

The 48-year-old, who till just lately served as coach of the Wales nationwide crew, has pleaded not responsible to the fees, which carry a most jail time period of 5 years.

The jury trial at a crown court docket in Manchester opened at about 11am (10:00 GMT) on Monday, presided over by decide Hilary Manley. She stated the trial is predicted to final two weeks however may overrun.

Giggs entered the court docket constructing wanting grave-faced, flanked by his authorized crew. Inside, he sat upright within the dock as attorneys mentioned the course of the trial with the decide.

The primary day was to resolve the ultimate jury choice and listen to the opening speech by prosecution lawyer Peter Wright.

Wright informed the decide the trial would come with a compilation of safety digicam footage and physique cam movies.

Two assaults

Giggs is charged with assaulting his former girlfriend, PR govt Kate Greville, 36, inflicting her precise bodily hurt on November 1, 2020, when police have been known as to his dwelling within the Manchester space.

The Welshman is additional charged with frequent assault of her youthful sister, Emma Greville, on the identical day.

He additionally faces a cost of controlling and coercive behaviour in the direction of Kate all through their relationship, which started in 2017 and ended with the alleged assault.

The cost specifies that his behaviour in the direction of Kate included using “isolation, belittling, humiliation, harassment, degradation and abuse”.

Giggs was arrested by police at his dwelling in November 2020 and later launched on bail.

He has denied the allegations and pleaded not responsible at an preliminary court docket look in April final yr.

His trial was attributable to be heard in January nevertheless it was delayed attributable to a backlog of court docket instances attributable to the coronavirus pandemic.

First of two trials

Giggs’s lawyer, Chris Daw, has acted for high-profile sports activities figures together with former England and Chelsea soccer captain John Terry, who was discovered not responsible of racially abusing fellow participant Anton Ferdinand in 2012.

Giggs resigned because the Wales supervisor in June, after being on depart since his arrest.

He stated he didn’t need “continued curiosity round this case” to have an effect on the crew because it prepares for this yr’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

He stays on conditional bail, and has stated he appears ahead to “clearing my title”.

A blinding teenage expertise, Giggs ended his profession at Previous Trafford because the most-decorated participant in English soccer historical past.

As a participant, Giggs made a club-record 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United, profitable 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.

He then started his teaching profession at Previous Trafford, taking momentary cost on the finish of the 2013-14 season after David Moyes was sacked earlier than working as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for 2 years.

Giggs was appointed Wales boss in January 2018 and helped them safe qualification for Euro 2020, their second main match look for the reason that 1958 World Cup.

His trial opens shortly earlier than one other court docket case involving a star footballer, Manchester Metropolis defender Benjamin Mendy.

The Frenchman is ready to go on trial on Wednesday in Chester, northwest England, for alleged rape and assault in a case involving seven ladies.

Mendy, who has been suspended by Metropolis, denies the allegations.

Trial begins in Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook damages case | Courts News

US radio host Alex Jones had stated {that a} 2012 college capturing the place 20 kids and 6 college employees had been killed was fabricated.

The jury trial of Alex Jones, a US conspiracy theorist, started in a case that may resolve how a lot he should pay the household of a kid killed within the 2012 Sandy Hook bloodbath that he falsely claimed was a hoax.

Mark Bankston, an legal professional for the mother and father of slain six-year-old Jesse Lewis, informed jurors on Tuesday that the Sandy Hook hoax lie turned a “viral sensation” for Jones, who unfold it to hundreds of thousands of individuals.

“Mr Jones was frequently churning out this concept that Sandy Hook was pretend,” Bankston stated. “He was affected person zero for the Sandy Hook hoax.”

Jones, founding father of the Infowars radio present and webcast, had asserted the mainstream media and gun-control activists conspired to manufacture the tragedy through which 20 schoolchildren and 6 college employees had been shot useless at Sandy Hook Elementary College in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.

Alex Jones
Alex Jones claimed in courtroom data final 12 months that he had a destructive internet value of $20m, however attorneys for Sandy Hook households have painted a distinct monetary image [File: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]

The Texas trial begins about two months after a gunman killed 19 kids and two lecturers at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, Texas. It was the deadliest college capturing since Sandy Hook.

Jones has since acknowledged that the capturing passed off. Throughout a deposition in April, he insisted he was not chargeable for the struggling that Sandy Hook mother and father say they’ve endured due to the hoax conspiracy, together with loss of life threats and harassment by Jones’s followers.

The defamation go well with in Texas, the place Infowars is predicated, is one among a number of introduced by households of victims who say they had been harassed by Jones’s followers and suffered emotional misery after he claimed the capturing was staged.

Decide Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin, Texas, who’s overseeing the trial, issued a uncommon default judgment in 2021, discovering Jones liable with out a trial after he flouted courtroom orders and failed to show over paperwork.

The plaintiffs are Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, Jesse’s mother and father. A lawyer for Heslin and Lewis indicated in courtroom on Monday that they’re looking for as a lot as $100m in compensatory and punitive damages.

Throughout his opening handle, Jones’s lawyer Andino Reynal referred to as Jones one of many “most polariding figures on this nation”, who made statements about Sandy Hook “that we don’t dispute had been improper”. However he stated Jones has already been punished for these statements when he was kicked off of Fb, YouTube, Spotify and Twitter for violating their hate speech insurance policies.

Jones has “already been cancelled” and misplaced hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, stated Reynal, who referred to as on the jury to restrict the damages to $1.

Jones claimed in courtroom data final 12 months that he had a destructive internet value of $20m, however attorneys for Sandy Hook households have painted a distinct monetary image.

Court docket data present that Jones’s Infowars retailer, which sells dietary dietary supplements and survival gear, made greater than $165m between 2015 and 2018. Jones has additionally urged listeners on his Infowars programme to donate cash.

The damages trial follows months of delays. Three entities associated to Infowars filed chapter in a since-dismissed case. The households of the Sandy Hook victims had stated the chapter was a sinister try by Jones to protect his belongings from legal responsibility stemming from the defamation lawsuits.

Jones, who was current within the courtroom, is about to face trial in September in an analogous defamation go well with in Connecticut state courtroom, the place he has additionally been discovered answerable for defamation in a default judgment.

The Sandy Hook gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, used a Remington Bushmaster rifle to hold out the bloodbath. It ended when Lanza killed himself with the method of police sirens.

Contempt of Congress trial for former Trump adviser Bannon begins | Courts News

Prosecutors say Steve Bannon intentionally defied Congress; defence legal professionals argue he was negotiating with Jan 6 panel.

US prosecutors have accused former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon of wilfully ignoring a congressional subpoena in open defiance of the US authorities.

Bannon’s trial for contempt of Congress costs, stemming from refusing handy over info subpoenaed by a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol, started on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t non-compulsory. It wasn’t a request, and it wasn’t an invite. It was necessary,” Assistant US Lawyer Amanda Vaughn instructed jurors in her opening assertion.

“The defendant’s failure to conform was deliberate. It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a mistake. It was a alternative.”

 

However his legal professionals argued on Tuesday that the fees towards him are politically motivated and that Bannon was engaged in good-faith negotiations with the congressional committee when he was charged.

“Nobody ignored the subpoena,” Evan Corcoran instructed the jury.

In actuality, he stated, one other considered one of Bannon’s then-lawyers, Robert Costello, contacted an legal professional for the committee to specific a few of Bannon’s considerations about testifying.

“They did what two legal professionals do. They negotiated,” Corcoran stated, including that Bannon and his authorized group believed “the dates of the subpoena weren’t fastened; they have been versatile”.

Bannon reversed course this month and stated he needed to testify earlier than a public committee listening to, practically 10 months after defying the subpoena. There was no indication of any plan to have him accomplish that, because the committee seemingly would need him to first testify in closed classes in an effort to cowl a variety of issues. Trump instructed Bannon he was waiving any govt privilege declare.

An unofficial adviser to Trump on the time of the Capitol assault, Bannon is charged with defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee that sought his data and testimony.

He was indicted in November on two counts of felony contempt of Congress, one month after the Justice Division acquired a congressional referral. Every rely carries a minimal of 30 days of jail and so long as a 12 months behind bars if Bannon is convicted.

US District Choose Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, had beforehand dominated that vital parts of Bannon’s deliberate defence have been irrelevant and couldn’t be launched in courtroom. He dominated final week that Bannon couldn’t declare he believed he was lined by govt privilege or that he was appearing on the recommendation of his legal professionals.

Bannon, 68, had been one of the vital outstanding of the Trump-allied holdouts refusing to testify earlier than the committee.

Final month, the Justice Division charged Peter Navarro, a former adviser to Trump, with two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the committee.

Bannon had argued that his testimony was protected by Trump’s declare of govt privilege, which permits presidents to withhold confidential info from the courts and the legislative department.

Trump has repeatedly asserted govt privilege — despite the fact that he’s a former, not present president — to attempt to block witness testimony and the discharge of White Home paperwork. The Supreme Court docket in January dominated towards Trump’s efforts to cease the Nationwide Archives from cooperating with the committee after a decrease courtroom choose, Tanya S Chutkan, famous partly, “Presidents usually are not kings”.

Bannon’s trial comes because the congressional committee presents its findings on the January 6 riots in a collection of public hearings which have tried to hyperlink Trump to the assault.

The following listening to is about for Thursday night. The panel introduced on Tuesday that the session will proceed regardless of Congressman Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, testing optimistic for COVID-19.

Swiss court clears Blatter, Platini of fraud in FIFA trial | Football News

Switzerland’s Federal Felony Courtroom acquits ex-world and European soccer chiefs over a suspected fraudulent fee.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, as soon as the chiefs of world and European soccer, have been acquitted over a suspected fraudulent fee that shook the game and torpedoed their time on the high.

Switzerland’s Federal Felony Courtroom within the southern metropolis of Bellinzona on Friday rejected the prosecution’s request for a suspended jail sentence of a 12 months and eight months, following a mammoth investigation that started in 2015 and lasted six years.

Former FIFA president Blatter, 86, and Platini, 67, had been tried over a two million Swiss franc ($2.05m) fee in 2011 to Platini, who was then in control of European soccer’s governing physique UEFA.

The previous French soccer nice “submitted to FIFA in 2011 an allegedly fictitious bill for a (alleged) debt nonetheless current for his exercise as an adviser for FIFA within the years 1998 to 2002”, in keeping with the court docket.

Blatter insisted earlier than the court docket that the pair had struck an oral “gents’s settlement”, with a few of Platini’s remuneration to be paid at a later date when FIFA’s fragile funds would permit it.

Each had been accused of fraud and forgery of a doc. Blatter was accused of misappropriation and legal mismanagement, whereas Platini was accused of taking part in these offences.

Platini (L), surrounded by journalists
Platini surrounded by journalists as he arrives at Switzerland’s Federal Felony Courtroom [Fabrice Coffrini/AFP]

Blatter and Platini maintained their innocence all through their trial, which ran from June 8 to 22.

The indictment was filed by the Workplace of the Legal professional Common of Switzerland.

Each FIFA and UEFA are headquartered in Switzerland, in Zurich and Nyon respectively.

Banned from the game

Platini and Blatter had been banned from the game on the very second when the previous appeared ideally positioned to succeed Blatter on the helm of world soccer’s governing physique.

The 2 allies grew to become rivals as Platini grew impatient to take over, whereas Blatter’s tenure was delivered to a swift finish by a separate 2015 FIFA corruption scandal investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Joseph “Sepp” Blatter joined FIFA in 1975, grew to become its common secretary in 1981 and the president of world soccer’s governing physique in 1998.

He was compelled to face down in 2015 and was banned by FIFA for eight years, later lowered to 6, over ethics breaches for authorising the fee to Platini, allegedly made in his personal pursuits moderately than FIFA’s.

Platini is regarded amongst world soccer’s biggest ever gamers. He gained the Ballon d’Or, thought-about probably the most prestigious particular person award, 3 times – in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Platini was UEFA’s president from January 2007 to December 2015. He appealed in opposition to his preliminary eight-year suspension on the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport, which lowered it to 4 years.

Chinese-Canadian tycoon who vanished set for trial, embassy says | Corruption

Billionaire Xiao Jianhua went lacking in Hong Kong in 2017.

Chinese language-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who went lacking in Hong Kong 5 years in the past, was on account of go on trial in China on Monday, the Canadian embassy in Beijing stated.

China-born Xiao, identified to have hyperlinks to China’s Communist Get together elite, has not been seen in public since 2017 after he was reportedly kidnapped from a Hong Kong resort by Chinese language safety brokers. Xiao got here below investigation amid a state-led crackdown on conglomerates. The specifics of the probe haven’t been disclosed by officers.

“International Affairs Canada, our house workplace, is conscious {that a} trial within the case of Canadian citizen Mr Xiao Jianhua will happen right this moment,” a Canadian embassy official advised Reuters over the telephone in a readout of an announcement from Ottawa.

“Canadian consular officers are monitoring this case carefully, offering consular companies to his household and proceed to press for consular entry.”

Xiao was ranked thirty second on the 2016 Hurun China wealthy listing, China’s equal of the Forbes listing, with an estimated internet price of $5.97bn on the time.

On the centre of Xiao’s empire is the monetary group, Tomorrow Holding Co.

In July 2020, 9 of the group’s associated establishments have been seized by Chinese language regulators as a part of a crackdown on dangers posed by monetary conglomerates.

In 2021, regulators prolonged the one-year takeover interval of the 9 monetary enterprises by one other 12 months to “additional promote threat disposal work and defuse monetary dangers”.

The prolonged custody is ready to finish on July 16.

The seizures have been preceded by a takeover of Baoshang financial institution in 2019, a lender as soon as managed by Tomorrow, by regulators, citing extreme credit score dangers.

The lender, which had operated nationwide, was revamped right into a a lot smaller lender again in its house area of Inside Mongolia in northern China.

Lately, various executives at huge Chinese language corporations have been topic to investigation or prosecution amid a broader crackdown on corruption spearheaded by President Xi Jinping that has additionally ensnared politicians and bankers.

Amongst those that have fallen from grace was Jiang Jiemin, former head of China Nationwide Petroleum Corp, who was sentenced to 16 years for bribery and abuse of energy in 2015.

In 2017, Ai Baojun, a former chairman of Baoshan Iron and Metal who had gone on to develop into vice mayor of Shanghai, was sentenced to 17 years in jail for bribery and corruption.