Top Hong Kong activists found guilty for protests – BBC News

a court in hong kong has found seven prominent pro-democracy campaigners guilty of unauthorized assembly it's the latest blow to the city's democracy movement the group were accused of taking part in assembly in august 2019 when the city was engulfed by anti-government protests they had pleaded not guilty to the charge among those on trial barrister and democratic party founder martin lee who is 82 and media billionaire jimmy ly since their detentions small groups of supporters have been surrounding the court building although sentencing will be delivered at a later date emily lau is the former legislator and chair of the democratic party and was at the court to hear the verdicts she gave us her reaction to the court's decision we feel very dismayed and distressed but maybe not too surprised given the pressure that the whole of hong kong is under if you were here you would feel it pressure from beijing pressure from the carillon administration so uh judges they are just human and uh but it's very sad to see these people who have made so many many contributions to the development of the city which they found guilty because they took part in a peaceful and non-violent demonstration i mean they are world famous for activists for taking part in fighting for freedom for democracy for hong kong and never never supportive violence we would like to think that our judges our courts are still independent objective free and fair and uh so whatever they do everything they do will send a signal not just to hong kong to beijing and to the whole world whether the independence of the judiciary is still there some people of course don't believe it in it anymore i still i still have some hope that we still have some form of independent judiciary and so we never know the sentence will be on the 16th of this month and i certainly hope they will not all be locked up well let's talk now to hau zhang from the bbc chinese service as emily was saying there and we know howard these are very prominent activists who were found guilty today of unauthorized assembly what sort of prison sentence could they receive uh if you just look at the current hong kong law these two charges when it's organizing unauthorized assembly the other is participating in an authorized assembly the top sentence would be about five years and uh no one's sure you know how the sentencing will be carried out would they be stacked up together the two uh charges and uh or it will be a single sentence so that you know we're waiting to see but most people in hong kong would echo you know emily law's assessment and then there there's still hope there will be an independent hong kong judiciary you know independently judging on things but but people are waiting to see what i mean how it our focus is on these prominent activists how many other people have been arrested exactly exactly and uh recently there some protesters who were jailed in mainland who brought back to hong kong there were you know people if you talk to ordinary hong kongers many of them know people have been arrested and also they all know some people are either getting ready or already packed up and left so uh it depends on who you talk to the the the sin is quite pessimistic into many they were charged with unauthorized assembly howard they were peacefully protesting is any kind of oppositional protest allowed in hong kong now well this is the biggest question you know because many in hong kong before the introduction of the chinese national security law and many many took it for granted as long as it was peaceful as long as the police did not openly object and people thought the peaceful assembly was allowed but now apparently it's not the case anymore so uh you know things are changing so howard when emily and others say to the bbc when we talk to them and even on the streets of hong kong they say look the struggle will continue how can it well i guess there will always be you know like her like a few really really uh determined individuals and you can still see that type of uh determination and struggle but for the many you know it's a fact you don't see the mass demonstrations anymore and is it likely to happen again you know it's a big big question now and the significance this is where as well this week of the electoral law being changed do you think we'll see any opposition figures putting themselves forward for the ledge code knowing that they'll be vetted by this beijing committee exactly as you said they can put themselves forward but the vetting process is not controlled by them you know they have to satisfy whoever puts themselves forward as a candidate we have to satisfy the patriot uh standard or definition and uh so what what is the chinese patriot now howard thanks so much for joining us from our chinese service

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