In 2021, 47 prominent democrats were arrested and charged under the security law with “conspiracy to commit subversion,” after they organised primaries in a bid to win the 2020 legislative election. They are accused of planning to use legislative powers to indiscriminately veto bills, whilst forcing the chief executive’s resignation and a government shutdown. Most were detained for almost two years awaiting trial.
16 pleaded not guilty whist 31 pleaded guilty – of those, four are acting as witnesses for the prosecution against their peers during the 90-day trial. Critics say the case is a political prosecution exemplifying the crackdown on dissent, whilst the government has claimed the 47 sought to “organise, plan, implement, or participate in” subversion. The scholars, lawmakers, activists and a journalist face three hand-picked judges, with no jury, and could be jailed for life.