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Opposition hails Occupy nine, US expresses concern

2019-04-24 HKT 16:41
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  • Opposition hails Occupy nine, US expresses concern
Maggie Ho reports
Opposition lawmakers hailed the contribution of the Occupy leaders sentenced on Wednesday and dubbed the court sentences as an example of the government's "persecution" of political opponents.

The local consulate of the United States in a statement expressed concern about the effect of the sentences on political freedom, while Amnesty International called for the immediate release of the activists jailed.

An emotional convenor of the pan-democratic camp, Claudia Mo, hailed the contribution of those sentenced on Wednesday.

"The Umbrella nine's contribution to Hong Kong's democracy movement will be well remembered and gloriously locked down in our history," the lawmaker said, her voice quivering.

Mo said she was furious and disappointed with the court's decision, calling it the administration's attempt to crack down on dissent. She said the government is using the courts to silence opposition in Hong Kong.

The opposition lawmaker again broke down when vowing to fight the government's proposed changes to the SAR's extradition laws.

"We will surely heed their call to try our best to fight against this government-proposed extradition law, which is going to take away a lot of our freedoms ... complete with cuffs and shackles," Mo said.

Lawmakers from the Professionals Guild said they're taking the court decision with a heavy heart. But they said there should not be despair in the difficult and long fight for democracy.

In a statement, the US Consulate in Central expressed concern that the SAR government's decision to prosecute the activists could "stifle the exercise of the basic freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law".

"It is important for Hong Kong to respect its residents’ rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. Societies are best served when diverse political views are respected and can be freely expressed," the consulate said.

Amnesty International bemoaned the "appalling jail sentences", saying they are an affront to justice and human rights. The rights organisation also called for the immediate release of the four jailed activists.

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Last updated: 2019-04-24 HKT 17:19