Two Hong Kong democracy activists pleaded guilty on Tuesday to organising or taking part in an unlawful meeting throughout huge anti-government protests in 2019.
The two have been amongst 9 distinguished activists whose trial obtained underneath method within the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The 9 have been arrested with a number of others in April final 12 months in what was seen as a transfer to crackdown on dissent.
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The two who pleaded guilty have been Au Nok-hin and Leung Yiu-chung, each former members of the Hong Kong legislature. Au had been charged with each organising and taking part in an unlawful meeting and Leung was charged with taking part in an unlawful meeting. The prices stemmed from an August 18, 2019, protest.
The different seven pleaded not guilty. They included Martin Lee, an 82-year-old veteran of Hong Kong’s democracy motion, and Jimmy Lai, a newspaper writer who’s being held with out bail on different prices associated to his pro-democracy actions.
Before the trial, supporters and several other of the accused rallied outdoors the court docket. One banner learn “Peaceful Assembly is Not a Crime; Shame on Political Prosecution.” Lee Cheuk-yan, one of many 9 defendants, mentioned that the legislation has change into an instrument of political suppression.
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“It may be very unhappy to witness the deterioration of the rule of legislation in Hong Kong right into a rule by concern,” he mentioned.