Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ protest leaders found guilty | News

Hong Kong – A Hong Kong court has found nine leaders of the 2014 “Umbrella Movement” pro- democracy protests guilty on charges of incitement and conspiracy for their role in leading the mass protest.

Those convicted include co-founders of the ‘Occupy Central’ protests – Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, 75, law professor Benny Tai, 54 and retired scholar Chan Kin-man, 60.

The group included sitting legislators, professors, student activists and a religious leader who played key roles in leading the 79-day democracy protest.

Tuesday’s verdict from a High Court judge means each of the nine is facing a maximum penalty of seven years in jail for charges they say are politically motivated. 




Hong Kong jails Occupy protest leaders

The sentencing is expected to be handed later on Tuesday.

All nine defendants denied the charges, arguing that they should not be prosecuted based on speeches they had made.

Chu, Tai and Chan have been charged with three offences relating to public nuisance. The trio is found guilty of conspiracy to cause public nuisance. Tai and Chan are also convicted of inciting others to cause a public nuisance.

The trio appeared clam in the dock as the verdict was read out in a packed courtroom.

In a summary of his judgement, Justice Johnny Chan noted that while the concept of civil disobedience is “recognised in Hong Kong”, it was not a defence to a criminal charge.

“The offence of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance does not have the undesirable effect of curtailing or suppressing civil disobedience at its formation stage or suppressing human rights as the defendants contended,” the summary read.

A huge crowd voiced its support as the movement leaders and members walked out the courtroom after learning their fate.

Prosecutors had relied on media interviews to build their case, including a press conference in 2013 where the movement’s co-founders announced the campaign “Occupy Central with Love and Peace”.

The event was termed a “public manifestation” of the activists’ conspiracy to commit the crimes by the prosecutors. 

The verdict was termed the “most symbolic” in recent years by Samson Yuen, an assistant professor at the Hong Kong Lingnan University Department of Political Science.

“I think it really shows how conservative Hong Kong courts are, said Yuen who does research on political participation and activism in the Hong Kong.

“Because they don’t seem to take civil disobedience as a justification.”

Yuen pointed out that while he was not surprised by the ruling on the three co-founders, he was shocked to see the other six – whom he said had minor roles in the protests – convicted.

“The ruling serves as a message that everyone who was there, they could be found guilty.”

He added that activists will have a “bigger” political cost to pay while taking part in social movements in the future, even though they are not the leading figures.

Tai, speaking to Reuters news agency earlier, said they would continue the struggle for full democracy.

“The reason that we committed civil disobedience is because we want justice for Hong Kong people.”

Source

more recommended stories

  • Sri Lanka bombings: All the latest updates | Sri Lanka News

    A series of coordinated explosions has rocked.

  • Sri Lanka Easter bombings: Mass casualties in churches and hotels | News

    A series of bombings has hit.

  • Will Egyptian President Sisi’s mandate be extended? | Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

    Millions of Egyptians are heading to.

  • Gaza fishermen: Israel extending fishing zone is token gesture | News

    Gaza Strip – Under cover of.

  • US man arrested for threatening Democratic politicians | USA News

    Police arrested a Florida man on.

  • US Democrat Nadler subpoenas full, unredacted Mueller report | USA News

    United States House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

  • Mali’s PM Maiga, government resign over Ogossagou massacre | News

    Mali‘s prime minister and his government.

  • Libya death toll rises to 205 as Tripoli fighting continues: WHO | News

    At least 205 people have been.

  • Magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits east Taiwan, no major damage | News

    A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck.

  • Mueller report to be released on Thursday: 5 things to look for | News

    US Attorney General William Barr has.

  • Ethiopia: Former jail to become museum | Ethiopia News

    The administration of Ethiopia‘s southeastern Somali.

  • Voting underway in Indonesia’s biggest election | News

    Indonesians have started voting to choose.

  • Why is Notre Dame important to France? | France News

    Notre Dame Cathedral is one of.

  • Jailed Reuters journalists honoured with Pulitzer Prize | News

    Two jailed reporters for the Reuters.

  • Are foreign powers worsening the conflict in Libya? | Middle East

    Libya’s rival forces are intensifying their.

  • India’s poll body accused of bias as election complaints pile up | India News

    New Delhi, India – In 2011,.

  • Sudan military vows to reform intelligence service amid protests | News

    Sudan‘s ruling military council has announced.

  • Russia in Africa: Inside a military training centre in CAR | Central African Republic

    Russia is back in the Central.

  • Think you can survive in Bangkok’s art world?

    Curate an art exhibition and survive.

  • Sudan’s military removes al-Bashir: All the latest updates | News

    Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has been.

  • British MPs say WikiLeaks’ Assange should face justice in Sweden | News

    More than 70 British members of.

  • ‘Not pawns’: US mayors decry Trump’s sanctuary city threat | USA News

    Democratic US mayors said on Friday.

  • Algerians take to the streets as anger mounts at interim leader | Algeria News

    Algerian police tried but failed to.

  • ‘Guard your revolution’: Sudan protests continue despite curfew | News

    Organisers of the months-long demonstrations that.

  • US charges WikiLeaks’ Assange with ‘computer hacking conspiracy’ | News

    Washington, DC – US prosecutors have charged.

  • India elections: Voting under way for first phase | India News

    Indians are voting in the first.

  • US, China ‘agree to establish trade deal enforcement offices’ | News

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

  • New Zealand passes gun law reform in wake of Christchurch attack | New Zealand News

    Auckland, New Zealand – New Zealand’s.

  • Israel elections: Netanyahu and main rival in tight race | News

    Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was.

  • Hope blossoms in spring as Afghans keep close eye on peace talks | Asia

    Asasabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan – The.

  • Three US troops, one contractor killed in Afghanistan explosion | Afghanistan News

    Three US service members and a.

  • Sudan security forces ‘fire tear gas’ at protesters in Khartoum | News

    Security forces in Sudan fired tear.