A Hong Kong courtroom on Wednesday sentenced 9 veteran activists to between six and 16 months imprisonment for final 12 months organising and taking part in a Tiananmen Sq. vigil that was banned by police.
The June 4 occasion vigil has been banned over the previous two years, with officers citing safety fears and the coronavirus pandemic.
Why have been they in courtroom?
The 9 are a part of a gaggle of 12 defendants who earlier this month pleaded responsible to taking part within the vigil.
The occasion was the one large-scale public commemoration on Chinese language territory of the 1989 crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing.
Whereas the ban was ostensibly on well being grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic, critics declare it was a part of a crackdown on the opposition within the semi-autonomous Chinese language.
Greater than a dozen attended the occasion initially, however they have been joined by 1000’s of others. The gang broke via obstacles across the territory’s Victoria Park, lighting candles and singing songs.
The accused had all been charged with collaborating in an unauthorised meeting. Seven of them additionally face an extra cost of inciting others to participate within the occasion.
Three of the 12 got suspended sentences by the courtroom.
Distinguished figures accused
Amongst these sentenced on Wednesday have been lawyer Albert Ho and Figo Chan, former chief of the territory’s now-defunct Civil Human Rights Entrance.
Ho was handed phrases of 10 months for incitement and 6 months for attending the vigil. His sentences are to be served concurrently with 18 months he’s already serving associated to different instances.
One other eight activists who have been charged over the vigil pleaded not responsible. They included Jimmy Lai, the founding father of the Apple Day by day newspaper in addition to alliance chief Lee Cheuk-yan.
They’re set to face trial in November.
Excessive-profile pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and three others had beforehand pleaded responsible over their roles in the identical occasion. They have been sentenced to between 4 and 10 months in jail earlier this 12 months.
The Chinese language authorities final 12 months imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong. The laws targets secession, subversion, terrorism and overseas collusion. The legislation change got here after months of anti-government protests in 2019.
Greater than 100 individuals have been arrested underneath the legislation.
Officers in each Hong Kong and Beijing have confronted criticism for eradicating freedoms that have been promised to Hong Kong for 50 years when the previous British colony was handed again over to China in 1997.