Secret trial violates rights covenant, claims Amnesty
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The decision to hold Cheung's trial in secret violated the human rights covenant signed by Beijing two weeks ago, Amnesty International said.
'We are very concerned over reports that it will be a closed trial and the court will be cordoned off,' said Louise Vischer, from the East Asia Research Team for Amnesty, at its headquarters in London.
She said such a move went against the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Beijing signed on October 5 - guaranteeing basic human rights - including fair trials.
Mainland authorities ruled on Wednesday the trial would be kept secret and only relatives allowed to attend Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court.
It has been suggested that part of the reason for the secrecy was to protect the two Hong Kong tycoons, widely reported to be Victor Li Tzar-kuoi and Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, who Cheung allegedly kidnapped in 1996 and 1997.
Dr Fu Hualing, assistant professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, said there was no reason for a secret trial because there were no clear national security issues. He urged the Hong Kong Government to comment on the point.
A government Secretariat spokesman said that as far as it was aware, the mainland had jurisdiction over the case.