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Hong Kong Democracy Leaders Given Jail Phrases Amid Crackdown

Hong Kong Democracy Leaders Given Jail Terms Amid Crackdown


HONG KONG — 9 of Hong Kong’s main pro-democracy advocates have been sentenced to jail phrases Friday for organizing a march throughout the 2019 anti-government protests that triggered an awesome crackdown from Beijing.

These sentenced embrace the town’s so-called “father of democracy” Martin Lee in addition to pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

They have been discovered responsible earlier this month of organizing and collaborating in a large protest in August 2019, the place an estimated 1.7 million individuals marched in opposition to a invoice that might have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The protest was not licensed by the police.

Their convictions and sentencing have been the newest blow to the town’s flagging democracy motion, amid an ongoing crackdown by Beijing and Hong Kong authorities on dissent within the semi-autonomous Chinese language metropolis.

Lee, an 82-year-old lawyer and former lawmaker identified for his advocacy of human rights and democracy within the metropolis, had his sentence of 11 months in jail suspended after his age was considered.

Lai, the founding father of Hong Kong’s Apple Every day tabloid, was sentenced to 12 months in jail. Previous to sentencing, he was remanded in jail on different prices, together with collusion with international forces to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs — a brand new crime below a nationwide safety regulation imposed on the town in 2020 by the central authorities in Beijing.

Lee Cheuk-yan, a pro-democracy activist and former lawmaker identified for serving to to arrange annual candlelight vigils in Hong Kong on the anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Sq. in 1989, was sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Attorneys Albert Ho and Margaret Ng each had their 12-month jail sentences suspended. Former lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung was sentenced to 18 months, whereas one other former legislator, Cyd Ho, was given a jail sentence of eight months.

Two different former lawmakers, Au Nok-hin and Leung Yiu-chung, who beforehand pleaded responsible have been additionally given jail sentences. Au was sentenced to 10 months in jail, whereas Leung’s eight-month jail time period was suspended.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s earlier story follows:

Seven of Hong Kong’s main pro-democracy advocates, together with 82-year-old veteran activist Martin Lee and pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, are anticipated to be sentenced Friday for organizing a march throughout the 2019 anti-government protests that triggered an awesome crackdown from Beijing.

They have been discovered responsible earlier this month of organizing and collaborating in a large protest in August 2019, the place an estimated 1.7 million individuals marched in opposition to a invoice that might have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The seven are anticipated to submit pleas for extra lenient punishment earlier than sentencing is handed down. They withstand 5 years in jail.

Their convictions have been the newest blow to the town’s flagging democracy motion, amid an ongoing crackdown by Beijing and Hong Kong authorities on dissent within the semi-autonomous Chinese language metropolis.

Beijing had pledged to permit the town to retain civil liberties not permitted in mainland China for 50 years after the previous British colony reverted to Chinese language rule in 1997, however just lately has ushered in a sequence of measures, together with a nationwide safety laws and electoral reforms, that many concern are a step nearer to creating Hong Kong no totally different from cities on the mainland.

Underneath the brand new guidelines, Hong Kong residents could be held legally answerable for any speech opposing China’s authorities and the ruling Communist Half or perceived colluding with hostile international political teams or people. Electoral modifications imply simply 20 out of 90 Legislative Council members might be immediately elected and Beijing will retain even tighter management over the physique that picks Hong Kong’s future chief executives.

The seven anticipated to obtain sentencing Friday embrace Lee, a lawyer and former lawmaker often called Hong Kong’s “father of democracy” for his advocacy of human rights and democracy within the metropolis courting to the British colonial period; Lai, an entrepreneur and and founding father of Hong Kong’s Apple Every day tabloid; and Lee Cheuk-yan, a pro-democracy activist and former lawmaker identified for serving to to arrange annual candlelight vigils in Hong Kong on the anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Sq. in 1989.

“I’m able to face the penalty and sentencing and I’m proud that I can stroll with the individuals of Hong Kong for this democracy,” Lee Cheuk-yan mentioned forward of the court docket session, as supporters held up indicators condemning political persecution. “We are going to stroll collectively even in darkness, we are going to stroll with hope in our hearts.”

Attorneys Albert Ho and Margaret Ng, in addition to former lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Cyd Ho, have been additionally among the many seven discovered responsible.

In line with their convictions, six of the seven defendants carried a banner that criticized police and referred to as for reforms as they left Victoria Park and led a procession by way of the middle of the town. The opposite defendant, Margaret Ng, joined them on the way in which and helped carry the banner.

Lai, along with Lee Cheuk-yan and a former lawmaker Yeung Sum, have additionally been convicted of participating in one other unauthorized meeting on Aug. 31, 2019. All three have pleaded responsible. They’re anticipated to be sentenced later Friday, after the primary case, and withstand 5 years in jail.

Whereas Hong Kong’s authorities dropped the extradition invoice within the face of widespread opposition, demonstrators expanded their listing of calls for to incorporate electoral reforms for the chief govt and an inquiry into police techniques concentrating on protesters. These have been sternly refused by the authorities and protests grew more and more violent till the opposition prevailed in native district council elections.

Beijing then imposed a sweeping nationwide safety regulation, and Hong Kong authorities postponed elections for the Legislative Council, citing coronavirus precautions. Most opposition figures have since been jailed, intimidated into silence or sought asylum overseas and authorities have decreed that solely these thought of to be true Chinese language patriots might be allowed to carry workplace in future.