Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong sentenced to 13 months in prison over 2019 betoog

Hongkong Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been sentenced to 13.5 months in prison after pleading guilty to inciting and organizing an unauthorized protest outside the city’s police headquarters laas jaar, during months of unrest over a proposed extradition bill with China.

Two other activists, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, were sentenced to 10 months and seven months in prison respectively over the protest on June 21, 2019. Chow faced charges relating to inciting and taking part in the protest, while Lam was charged with inciting the protest.
The trioall former members of the disbanded political party Demosistohad been remanded in custody since November 23, and were transferred from prison to court to hear their sentences. Hundreds of supporters turned out at the West Kowloon Magistrates Court Wednesday, as well as a small number of pro-China demonstrators.
Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow arrive for their trial at West Kowloon Magistrates Court in Hong Kong on November 23, 2020.

In 'n brief he wrote in prison, published on his social media accounts prior to sentencing, Wongwho faced up to three years in jaildescribed how he had been placed in solitary confinement after an X-ray allegedly revealedforeign objectsin his stomach. A prison service representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Wong’s claims.
    Wong’s lawyer, Jonathan Man, said his clientwas suffering during the period of solitary confinement,” which he said ended last Thursday. Man added that while Lam was “okay,” 23-year-old Chow was struggling in prison, as “it is the first time she was remanded and (sy) was not used to the environment.
    In a letter posted to Chow’s social media accounts prior to Wednesday’s sentencing, she wrote that she was having trouble sleeping and was feelingunder the weather.Chow added that she wasvery worried” oor die “high possibilityof her receiving a jail term. “I hope that everyone outside the prison walls are doing well,” sy het gese.
    Wednesday’s sentence marks the fourth time Wong has been jailed, and the longest sentence he has received, with previous stints in prison all lasting less than six months.
    In the sentencing document, the court said thatdeterrent sentences are warranted to safeguard public interests.
    “Weereens, the government has used the politically motivated charge of ‘inciting others to protestto prosecute people who have merely spoken out and protested peacefully,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific regional director Yamini Mishra said in a statement.
    By targeting well-known activists from Hong Kong’s largely leaderless protest movement, authorities are sending a warning to anyone who dares openly criticize the government that they could be next.
    Mishra added thateven in protests where isolated acts of violence took place and public property was damaged, these should not be attributed to others or the organizers, or to the assembly in general.

    Political prosecutions

    Wednesday’s sentencing was the latest related to the 2019 protests. Oor 2,000 people have faced charges such as rioting, illegal assembly and possession of weapons.
    Wong himself faces other charges over a rally in October last year, and police have said investigations into the unrest are continuing.
    Verlede maand, a number of former pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested over protests staged in the city’s legislature, while a reporter for public broadcaster RTHK was also detained.
    The protests have largely stopped this year, due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions and the national security law imposed on the city by Beijing in the summer. The law criminalizes secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces, and carries with it strict prison terms.
    'Everyday was terrible': 64-year-old Hong Kong protester on detainment

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      ‘Everyday was terrible’: 64-year-old Hong Kong protester on detainment

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    It was used to bar Wong and a number of other candidates from standing for elections that were due to be held in September, but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Several of those disqualified were sitting lawmakers, who were subsequently ejected from the parliament by Beijingoverruling constitutional precedent and bypassing Hong Kong’s courts — op November 11, sparking the mass resignation of the entire pro-democratic camp.
    The move came the same week as the US State Department sanctioned a number of top Chinese officials in Hong Kong forthreatening the peace, sekuriteit, and autonomyof the city, a move the local government described asbarbaric interference.
    Other countries have also criticized China over the ongoing crackdown, with the European Council saying the move to disqualify opposition lawmakers constituted afurther severe blowto freedom of opinion in the city andsignificantly undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy.
    Some in Hong Kong have reacted to the worsening political system by emigratingor in the case of those facing prosecution, fleeing abroad.
    Hierdie somer, a dozen Hong Kongers were arrested by the Chinese coast guard en route to Taiwan. All are now detained on the mainland and facing a raft of charges. A former independence activist, Tony Chung, was also arrested after allegedly attempting to claim asylum at the US consulate to Hong Kong, along with several others.
    In his letter from prison, Wong urged the public tocontinue to pay attention” na die 12 detained in China. Separately Tuesday, parliamentarians from 18 lande wrote to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to urge her to intervene on their behalf.
      In your role as Chief Executive, it is incumbent on you to intercede on behalf of these young people to ensure that they are guaranteed justice,” the lawmakers wrote, expressing concern about a justice systemwhere imprisonment is essentially guaranteed, torture is common and forced confessions are frequently demanded of suspects.
      To continue to fail to do so would be a gross abdication of your responsibility to serve the people of Hong Kong and ensure their wellbeing and safety,” the letter added.

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