Hong Kong courtroom jails Jimmy Lai and different outstanding activists for eight to 18 months over 2019 protest


Amongst these sentenced was Jimmy Lai, 72, who based the pro-democracy Apple Every day newspaper. Lai acquired 14 months in jail for his involvement in two protests on August 18 and 31, 2019.

Additionally jailed for collaborating in each occasions was Lee Cheuk-yan, a 64-year-old former lawmaker and veteran pro-democracy activist, who acquired a complete of 14 months in jail. Three former lawmakers have been jailed over the August 18 march, together with “Longhair” Leung Kwok-hung, who acquired an 18 month sentence, Au Nok-hin, 10 months, and Cyd Ho, eight months.

Throughout Friday’s sentencing listening to, decide Amanda Woodcock stated the defendants “intentionally defied the regulation” and the unauthorized protests posed “a direct problem to the authority of the police, and subsequently regulation and order.”

She stated sentence imposed ought to “replicate the seriousness of the offense and culpability,” in addition to the “aware resolution” by the defendants to interrupt the regulation.

A number of defendants averted jail, receiving suspended sentences in respect of their superior age and lengthy document of public service. They included Martin Lee, an 82-year-old veteran barrister also known as “Hong Kong’s father of democracy,” and veteran pro-democracy activists Albert Ho, Margaret Ng and Leung Yiu-chung. Former lawmaker Yeung Sum acquired a suspended sentence for his function within the August 31 protest.

Illegal protests

The sentences have been handed down after Lai and others have been discovered responsible earlier this month of organizing and collaborating in two protests on August 18 and August 31 in 2019, each of which had been banned by police. Every cost carried with it a most penalty of 5 years in jail.

Lai’s barrister, Audrey Eu, stated throughout Friday’s mitigation listening to that Lai shouldn’t be given custodial sentence as a result of he didn’t breach the peace. “He was exercising his constitutional proper of peaceable meeting, (however not) doing it out of non-public acquire or greed,” she stated.

Individually, prosecutors added a second cost beneath the nationwide safety regulation towards Lai throughout one other courtroom listening to on Friday. Along with the unauthorized meeting expenses, Lai now faces two counts of colluding with overseas forces, which carry a most penalty of life imprisonment.

Ng, a 73-year-old barrister, acquired a spherical of applause in courtroom after she made a speech saying she was decided to face up for Hong Kong’s democratic rights.

“The rule of regulation not solely must be defended in courtroom, however within the streets and group,” Ng stated. “Rule of regulation isn’t just in regards to the regulation, however governance, and legal guidelines that defend rights are likely to win belief among the many individuals.”

Lawyer Graham Harris, who represented Martin Lee and Albert Ho, additionally highlighted their decades-long public service as lawmakers.

“Justice doesn’t must be served by locking up two individuals who have devoted the lives to serving the group,” he stated.

Mass pro-democracy protests

With regard to the protest on August 18, Lai and eight others have been discovered responsible after they led tons of of 1000’s of protesters from a rally in Victoria Park on a march to town’s Central District, to name for larger authorities accountability and an unbiased investigation into police brutality.

Whereas permission for a march had been refused by police, organizers declare that as much as 1.7 million individuals took half within the demonstration, bringing components of town to a standstill. CNN is unable to independently confirm this estimate.

Within the second case, Lai and two others have been discovered responsible over a separate protest on August 31 that yr.

Whereas protection legal professionals challenged that police shouldn’t be given the powers to ban protests as a result of it might violate the constitutional safety for freedom of meeting, Justice Woodcock stated Hong Kong’s prime courtroom had beforehand upheld its legality.

Forward of Friday’s listening to, dozens of individuals could possibly be seen queuing up outdoors the courtroom constructing for a seat within the public gallery. The courtroom opened a number of extra areas as extensions to accommodate the gang.

The ruling comes after Hong Kong celebrated its first Nationwide Safety Training Day on Thursday, throughout which police commissioner Chris Tang accused america of utilizing its brokers in Hong Kong to undermine nationwide safety. “The police pressure and I’ll spend power all through our lives to seek out out who you’re, and search for proof to convict you in courtroom,” he stated.

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