Fourteen dissidents were convicted of subversion in Hong Kong in the movement’s largest trial

The largest trial against the democratic opposition A Hong Kong is done with Fourteen activists were declared guilty and two were acquitted.

Those awaiting judgment now face difficulties from which to emerge Three years imprisonment up to life imprisonment. The crime charged against them is a crime Plot to sabotageaccording to one National Security Law imposed by China Laney 2020.

The case led to the imprisonment of some of the defendants Pre-trial detention For three years, without bail. The matter will continue for a few more months, as the Public Prosecutor’s Office quickly announced its intention to appeal the acquittal of the two people who were acquitted.

The number of defendants in this judicial process is 47, including former elected legislators, academics, trade unionists, journalists, and activists. Many of them led the pro-democracy movement before the Chinese regime crushed it at the end of July 2020, when it enacted the so-called law. National Security Law.

Lawrence Lau Wai Chung, accompanied by police, after his acquittal (Reuters/Tyrone Siew)

Of these 47 defendants, 31 admitted the charges against them, which Thursday’s trial finally affected. Sixteen people. Two of the defendants are lawyers Lau Wai Chung And former district advisor Li Yu XunShe was He was acquitted.

Lee Yu Xun, one of the other acquitted defendants, leaves court (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

The hearing generated great anticipation, with both hearing rooms packed with people, including many Foreign diplomatsTo obtain the awaited ruling.

Collective rulings

During the trial that began in February last year, the Public Prosecutor’s Office charged the defendants with committing a crime Sabotage For their participation in the 2020 Hong Kong parliamentary primaries, in which they voted 610,000 citizens.

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In October 2023, a group of independent experts who were part of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Councilfor him He issued a statement showingVery worried“To take advantage Mass trials In cases of national security laws a Hong Kong.

The current Hong Kong government responded by calling for comments.”mistake“.

Pro-democracy demonstrators protest in support of the defendants (EFE/EPA/Leung Man Hei)

This trial also shed light on Disagreements between the defendantswho belong to different factions within Hong Kong’s pro-democracy political space.

European Union reaction

european union (European UnionHe responded to the opponents’ condemnation by describing it as “Further deterioration in basic freedoms and democratic participation“:

“All defendants are being punished for peaceful political activity that must be lawful in any system that respects basic democratic principles.”

According to the European Union, the case “raises questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to openness and multilateralism”, which for the community club “has served as a cornerstone of the city’s attractiveness as an international commercial and financial centre”.

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