Andy Wong / AP
A court on the Chinese mainland sentenced 10 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists to up to three years in prison on Wednesday. In the closely watched case, this summer activists attempted to flee to Taiwan by speedboat – but were intercepted at sea and detained in China.
The main charge against the group was that it sought to cross an international border illegally. But rather than returning the activists to Hong Kong – where the police deemed them fugitives – the Chinese authorities chose to detain and prosecute them on the mainland.
The People’s Court of Yantian County in Shenzhen imposed the harshest sentence on Tang Kaiyin and Quin Moon, who were accused of organizing the trip. They would serve three and two years in a row, along with a fine of about $ 3,000.
Eight other activists were ordered to spend seven months in prison and pay smaller fines. All sentences include the approximately four months the activists have spent in detention South China Morning Newspaper mentioned.
Two minors who were in a group of fugitives were returned to Hong Kong for trial, according to the British newspaper The Guardian South China Morning Newspaper. The Global TimesAnd the Newspaper Published by the Chinese Communist Party, it said the trial would be closed to the public due to their age. The couple were handed over on Wednesday to Hong Kong Police, who said they are facing charges. Including arson.
The ruling comes after human rights organizations, the United States and other countries, said the Chinese authorities Failed to confirm A fair legal process for detainees, such as allowing detainees access to lawyers of their choice.
Most of the activists who have already fled face criminal charges linked to the pro-democracy street protests in Hong Kong, as Beijing tightens its control over the region’s political and legal institutions. They left Hong Kong shortly after the Chinese central government imposed a stringent new national security law on the territory.