HONG KONG—Nine veteran professional-democracy activists appeared with each other in court Tuesday on charges connected to the mass protests that rocked the town in 2019, in a demo that stands out for the variety and prominence of the defendants facing prosecution.
They contain 82-yr-outdated professional-democracy campaigner Martin Lee, newspaper publisher Jimmy Lai and seven other people who facial area charges of unlawful assembly that carry attainable sentences of up to 5 a long time in prison.
When the prosecution of Hong Kong’s opposition has turn into ever more commonplace, the defendants in the demo starting Tuesday are a Who’s Who of an previously technology of activists who have been fighting for main concerns like the rule of law and political participation given that prior to the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.
Mr. Lee is a U.K.-skilled attorney who co-founded the city’s 1st professional-democracy bash and aided create Hong Kong’s foundational authorized doc, the 1990 Primary Regulation. Other folks billed contain Margaret Ng, a seventy three-yr-outdated barrister Albert Ho, a sixty nine-yr-outdated attorney and activist Lee Cheuk-yan, a sixty four-yr-outdated labor leader, and Leung Kwok-hung, also sixty four, a longtime politician and activist recognised as “Long Hair.”
Law enforcement arrested the group previous April in coordinated early-early morning raids that astonished quite a few in the town, given that those qualified have been generally affiliated with peaceful activism and managing for elected office—not the usually bitter clashes amongst younger protesters and the law enforcement. For quite a few, the arrests signaled that authorities intended to go past prosecuting protesters who fully commited violence to crush the democracy movement by itself.