Hong Kong proposes safeguards to extradition law amendments

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s government says it is willing to raise the threshold for extraditing criminal suspects amid concerns over proposed amendments to the territory’s extradition law.

A government news release Monday said additional safeguards include a requirement that extradition be permitted only for offenses punishable with prison sentences of seven years or more, rather than three as before.

Governments requesting extradition would also have to provide assurances that the suspects would receive protections such as the presumption of innocence, the right to open trial, legal representation, the right to cross-examine witnesses, freedom from coerced confessions, the right to appeal and others.

The amendments have been criticized as eroding the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s judicial independence by making it easier to send criminal suspects to mainland China, where they could face unfair trials.