HONG KONG — A Hong Kong court docket is predicted on Wednesday to condemn 9 democracy activists for his or her roles in demonstrations that led to a 79-day occupation of main roads in 2014.
The protests 5 years in the past demanded extra open elections, and sought to power Hong Kong’s chief to step down. Tens of 1000’s of individuals joined sit-ins and peaceable road demonstrations, utilizing umbrellas to defend themselves when the police used tear fuel and pepper spray to disperse the crowds. The demonstrations got here to be often known as the Umbrella Motion.
Two professors, Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, and a retired pastor, Chu Yiu-ming, have been convicted this month of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance. They have been founders of Occupy Central With Love and Peace, a gaggle championing nonviolent civil disobedience in pursuit of democratic reforms.
In a abstract of the judgment, Choose Johnny Chan of the District Court docket mentioned the demonstrations had resulted in “unreasonable” obstruction, and so the leaders had forfeited the authorized protections of peaceable demonstration.
“The court docket held cost of conspiracy to trigger public nuisance wouldn’t generate a chilling impact in society and silence many reliable speeches because the defendants contend,” the abstract learn.
Amnesty Worldwide mentioned in a report that the “obscure and ambiguous fees” and delays in prosecution have been having a chilling impact on the rights to free expression and peaceable meeting.
Six different defendants have been convicted on associated public nuisance fees. They’re Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun, each present lawmakers; Lee Wing-tat, a former lawmaker; Tommy Cheung and Eason Chung, who have been scholar leaders; and Raphael Wong, a member of the League of Social Democrats, a pro-democracy celebration.
The activists mentioned after the decision that they have been honored to serve within the motion and, regardless of their convictions, didn’t remorse their involvement. A few of their legal professionals requested for a sentence of neighborhood service relatively than jail time.
“We have to perceive that the highly effective collude inside the political economic system, and to search out the best spot and hammer on it relentlessly,” Mr. Chung, the 26-year-old former scholar chief, mentioned in a court docket submission translated from Chinese language by The Hong Kong Free Press. “There aren’t any saints to observe on this journey.” Mr. Chung didn’t ask for a neighborhood service order.
Mr. Tai and Mr. Chan, who have been additionally convicted of incitement to commit public nuisance, mentioned they’d not ask for diminished sentences, as a substitute asking the court docket to not give a jail sentence to Mr. Chu, 75, who’s ill.
Mr. Chu, who had helped activists escape from China following a lethal crackdown on scholar activism in Tiananmen Sq. in 1989, delivered a speech describing himself as a “bell toller” within the Umbrella Motion.