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Hong Kong demonstrators arrested at sea are sentenced to prison in China

Hong Kong demonstrators arrested at sea are sentenced to prison in China

A notice from the Yantian People’s Procuratorate in Shenzhen said Tang Kai Yin, 31, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined about $ 3,000 for organizing illegal border crossing. Another defendant, Queen Moon, 33, was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of $ 2,300. The remaining eight received seven months in prison and $ 1,500 fines for participating in an illegal border crossing.

The court said that it issued its ruling “taking into account the circumstances of each accused’s crime, its harmful consequences and their admission of guilt.” She did not say where the defendants would spend their sentences. The court did not pursue cases against two of the group, who were minors, when they were charged with an escape plot. They were returned to Hong Kong police custody on Wednesday.

The 12 Hong Kong residents, aged between 16 and 33 when they were detained, belonged to the pro-democracy protest movement that It dominated the Asian financial center Last year – the biggest public rejection of the Communist Party’s rule on Chinese soil since 1989. All but one have been released on bail, facing charges related to the protests.

Fearing persecution under Beijing’s new comprehensive national security law to crack down on demonstrations, the group on August 23 boarded a speedboat from a fishing village with the goal of reaching Taiwan. After a few hours, they were detained in Chinese waters and detained in Shenzhen. On Monday, 10 of them were brought to trial in a fortified court, where diplomats, family members and foreign journalists were denied entry.

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The case, which comes on the heels of the controversial security law, is likely to have more Relaxation results In a city previously known for its vibrant protest culture and civil liberties protection. The law punishes vaguely defined crimes such as “separation” and “foreign interference” with severe prison sentences and the possibility of trial in Chinese courts. Pro-democracy activists and activists The face of strict choice Remaining in Hong Kong, awaiting possible arrest, or fleeing abroad.

“This episode will create an atmosphere of terror between dissidents and activists,” said Ho-Fung Hung, a professor of political economy at Johns Hopkins University. “This episode indicates that the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities are serious about finding ways to stop Hong Kong residents fleeing for fear of arrest.”

Beijing’s crackdown has intensified in recent months. Student activist Tony Chung, who was Among the first detainees Under the National Security Act, he was sentenced on Tuesday on separate charges to four months in prison for “desecrating” the Chinese flag at a protest in May last year.

On Wednesday, media mogul and Democratic activist Jimmy Lay resigned as president of his publishing company, Next Digital, “to spend more time dealing with his personal affairs,” according to the company statement. Lai also faces Charges under the Security Act.

Hong Kong families held in Shenzhen said they were concerned about whether they would be able to visit their loved ones and what conditions they would face in prison.

“Although we expected the worst, it was very difficult to accept the verdict when the verdict was issued.” Tang Kai Yin’s brother, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said, “Three years is not long but it is not short either.”

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The group includes Andy Lee, an activist who lobbied for international attention for what the protesters saw as China’s encroachment on Hong Kong and a violation of the “one country, two systems” framework, which was supposed to guarantee a high level of autonomy for the ex-British. After her return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Li, who was previously arrested under the National Security Law, was sentenced to seven months in prison.

Lee Tsze-yen, who was also sentenced on Wednesday to seven months in prison, was a first aid volunteer who was previously arrested on an unauthorized march in September 2019.

“Now I want him to come back as quickly as possible,” said his mother, who requested that her name be mentioned only by her family name, Chan, citing security concerns.

Chan said she hopes to see her son as soon as possible. “I hope the mainland [authorities] We can be notified when we can visit them, how much time each time, procedures and whether I can take winter clothes or buy food for my son. “I’m very nervous now.”

Foreign human rights defenders, lawyers and diplomats have said that Hong Kong prisoners are at risk of torture and ill-treatment in the opaque Chinese judicial system. Families of the defendants said that the 12 were prevented from choosing a lawyer and were unable to communicate with their relatives independently.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the European Union called for the “immediate release” of all 12 Hong Kong residents, criticizing the Chinese authorities for preventing diplomats and journalists from the actions.

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The defendants’ rights to fair trial and due process were not respected – in accordance with international human rights law and as stipulated in China’s criminal procedure law. We call on China to ensure fair due process and due process for these individuals.

U reported from Hong Kong.

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