Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong sentenced to 13 months in jail over 2019 protest

Two different activists, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, have been sentenced to 10 months and 7 months in jail respectively over the protest on June 21, 2019. Chow confronted costs regarding inciting and collaborating within the protest, whereas Lam was charged with inciting the protest.

The trio — all former members of the disbanded political get together Demosisto — had been remanded in custody since November 23, and have been transferred from jail to courtroom to listen to their sentences. A whole lot of supporters turned out on the West Kowloon Magistrates Courtroom Wednesday, in addition to a small variety of pro-China demonstrators.

In a letter he wrote in jail, revealed on his social media accounts previous to sentencing, Wong — who confronted as much as three years in jail — described how he had been positioned in solitary confinement after an X-ray allegedly revealed “overseas objects” in his abdomen. A jail service consultant didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark about Wong’s claims.

Wong’s lawyer, Jonathan Man, stated his consumer “was struggling in the course of the interval of solitary confinement,” which he stated ended final Thursday. Man added that whereas Lam was “okay,” 23-year-old Chow was struggling in jail, as “it’s the first time she was remanded and (she) was not used to the atmosphere.”

In a letter posted to Chow’s social media accounts previous to Wednesday’s sentencing, she wrote that she was having hassle sleeping and was feeling “below the climate.” Chow added that she was “very frightened” concerning the “excessive chance” of her receiving a jail time period. “I hope that everybody outdoors the jail partitions are doing properly,” she stated.

Wednesday’s sentence marks the fourth time Wong has been jailed, and the longest sentence he has obtained, with earlier stints in prison all lasting lower than six months.

Within the sentencing doc, the courtroom stated that “deterrent sentences are warranted to safeguard public pursuits.”

“As soon as once more, the federal government has used the politically motivated cost of ‘inciting others to protest’ to prosecute individuals who have merely spoken out and protested peacefully,” Amnesty Worldwide’s Asia-Pacific regional director Yamini Mishra stated in a press release.

“By focusing on well-known activists from Hong Kong’s largely leaderless protest motion, authorities are sending a warning to anybody who dares overtly criticize the federal government that they might be subsequent.”

Mishra added that “even in protests the place remoted acts of violence befell and public property was broken, these shouldn’t be attributed to others or the organizers, or to the meeting usually.”

Political prosecutions

Wednesday’s sentencing was the newest associated to the 2019 protests. About 2,000 folks have confronted costs equivalent to rioting, unlawful meeting and possession of weapons.

Wong himself faces different costs over a rally in October final 12 months, and police have stated investigations into the unrest are persevering with.

Final month, quite a few former pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested over protests staged within the metropolis’s legislature, whereas a reporter for public broadcaster RTHK was also detained.
The protests have largely stopped this 12 months, as a result of Covid-19 social distancing restrictions and the national security law imposed on the city by Beijing in the summer. The regulation criminalizes secession, subversion and collusion with overseas forces, and carries with it strict jail phrases.
It was used to bar Wong and quite a few different candidates from standing for elections that have been as a result of be held in September, however have been postponed due to the coronavirus. A number of of these disqualified have been sitting lawmakers, who have been subsequently ejected from the parliament by Beijing — overruling constitutional precedent and bypassing Hong Kong’s courts — on November 11, sparking the mass resignation of the whole pro-democratic camp.

The transfer got here the identical week because the US State Division sanctioned quite a few high Chinese language officers in Hong Kong for “threatening the peace, safety, and autonomy” of town, a transfer the native authorities described as “barbaric interference.”

Different international locations have additionally criticized China over the continuing crackdown, with the European Council saying the transfer to disqualify opposition lawmakers constituted a “additional extreme blow” to freedom of opinion within the metropolis and “considerably undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

Some in Hong Kong have reacted to the worsening political system by emigrating — or within the case of these going through prosecution, fleeing overseas.

This summer time, a dozen Hong Kongers have been arrested by the Chinese coast guard en route to Taiwan. All at the moment are detained on the mainland and going through a raft of costs. A former independence activist, Tony Chung, was additionally arrested after allegedly making an attempt to assert asylum on the US consulate to Hong Kong, together with a number of others.
In his letter from jail, Wong urged the general public to “proceed to concentrate” to the 12 detained in China. Individually Tuesday, parliamentarians from 18 international locations wrote to Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam to induce her to intervene on their behalf.

“In your position as Chief Government, it’s incumbent on you to intercede on behalf of those younger folks to make sure that they’re assured justice,” the lawmakers wrote, expressing concern a few justice system “the place imprisonment is basically assured, torture is frequent and compelled confessions are ceaselessly demanded of suspects.”

“To proceed to fail to take action could be a gross abdication of your accountability to serve the folks of Hong Kong and guarantee their wellbeing and security,” the letter added.

CNN’s Jadyn Sham contributed reporting.

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