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Hong Kong Umbrella Movement leaders sentenced to prison



HONG KONG – A Hong Kong court sentenced democracy activists to up to 16 months' imprisonment for conducting demonstrations that led to a 79-day occupation of major roads in 2014.

The protests five years ago called for more open elections and tried to force the Hong Kong leader to resign. Tens of thousands of people took part in sit-ins and peaceful street demonstrations, shielding themselves with umbrellas as the police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds. The demonstrations were known as the Umbrella Movement.

Two professors, Benny Tai and Chan Kinman, and retired pastor Chu Yiu-ming, who were sentenced this month for public harassment, were sentenced to 1

6 months in prison. Mr. Chu, 75, was suspended for two years because of his age. Mr. Tai and Mr. Chan were instructed to start their sentences immediately.

They were founders of Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a group that advocates nonviolent civil disobedience for democratic reform. Her group had called for a short sit-in of two or three days, which turned into a much longer occupation of the city streets after police used tear gas and pepper spray on student demonstrators.

A summary of Judge Johnny Chan's verdict from the district court said the demonstrations had led to "unreasonable" obstacles, and the leaders had given up legal protection for a peaceful demonstration.

"The court found that a charge of conspiracy that causes public harassment, no consequences would have a deterrent effect in society and in silence many legitimate speeches, as the defendants claim," reads the summary. [19659007AmnestyInternationalsaidinanearlierreportthat"vagueandambiguouscharges"andprosecutiondelays have a deterrent effect on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Six other defendants were convicted of public harassment. They are Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun, both legislators: Lee Wing-tat, a former lawmaker, Tommy Cheung and Eason Chung, who were student leaders, and Raphael Wong, a member of the League of Socialists, a party campaigning for democracy


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