June 12, 2024

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Hong Kong Trial of Nine Pro-Democracy Activists Begins

HONG KONG—Nine veteran pro-democracy activists appeared collectively in court docket Tuesday on expenses relevant to the mass protests that rocked the metropolis in 2019, in a demo that stands out for the selection and prominence of the defendants experiencing prosecution.

They contain eighty two-12 months-previous pro-democracy campaigner Martin Lee, newspaper publisher Jimmy Lai and seven other people who experience expenses of illegal assembly that have probable sentences of up to five several years in prison.

Whilst the prosecution of Hong Kong’s opposition has develop into progressively commonplace, the defendants in the demo starting Tuesday are a Who’s Who of an previously technology of activists who have been battling for core troubles like the rule of regulation and political participation considering the fact that prior to the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Mr. Lee is a U.K.-trained law firm who co-started the city’s initial pro-democracy party and assisted write Hong Kong’s foundational authorized document, the 1990 Primary Legislation. Other folks billed contain Margaret Ng, a 73-12 months-previous barrister Albert Ho, a sixty nine-12 months-previous law firm and activist Lee Cheuk-yan, a sixty four-12 months-previous labor chief, and Leung Kwok-hung, also sixty four, a longtime politician and activist identified as “Long Hair.”

Police arrested the team last April in coordinated early-morning raids that amazed many in the metropolis, considering the fact that those people focused were normally connected with peaceful activism and functioning for elected office—not the normally bitter clashes amongst young protesters and the law enforcement. For many, the arrests signaled that authorities meant to go past prosecuting protesters who fully commited violence to crush the democracy motion alone.