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1 Apr, 2021 13:03

Hong Kong convicts 7 activists, including tycoon Jimmy Lai, of unlawful assembly over 2019 protests

Hong Kong convicts 7 activists, including tycoon Jimmy Lai, of unlawful assembly over 2019 protests

Seven leading Hong Kong activists face five years in prison after being convicted for organizing an unauthorized assembly during the 2019 anti-government protests that brought the region to a standstill for months. 

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai was found guilty alongside six politicians and former legislators, Martin Lee, Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho Chun-yan and Leung Kwok-hung. All of the activists had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Sentencing will be announced on April 16, with each individual facing up to five years in prison, although it’s expected that they will receive between 12-18 months.

With the four-week trial completed, attention will turn to separate charges being levelled against pro-democracy activists, including Lai, who have been charged under a 2020 national security law for their role in the 2019 protest movement, with those charges carrying a life sentence if guilt is proven. 

Also on rt.com China’s parliament approves proposal to reform Hong Kong’s electoral system with ‘patriots’ pledge

Pro-democracy figures sparked a protest movement in 2019 over their belief that Beijing was stripping freedoms from Hong Kong, including democracy, an independent judiciary and the right to assembly. 

Following the 2019 protests, Beijing has denied that it was suppressing democracy in Hong Kong, which was handed back to China by the UK in 1997. The Chinese government says its actions are aimed at ensuring Hong Kong is governed by patriots, as it falls into line with the rest of the nation, ensuring stability across the country.

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