Hong Kong’s first protester convicted under the controversial security law was sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday. That reports AP . news agency. Tong Ying-kit, 24, was convicted on Tuesday of inciting separatism and terrorism. During the protests in July 2020, he drove a motorcycle into a group of cops, carrying a flag reading “Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our time.”
According to the judges, the slogan could encourage others to want to secede from China. The prison sentence would have a ‘deterrent effect’. The sentence imposed is relatively mild: the judges had the option of giving him life. Tong previously claimed to be innocent and remained silent during the trial. His lawyer says he wants to appeal. According to the lawyer, Tong had indeed driven dangerously, but he is not guilty of terrorism.
The introduction of the new security law, with which Beijing has de facto taken over Hong Kong’s legal system, sparked large-scale protests in Hong Kong from 2019 onwards. Human rights organization Amnesty International fears that with Tong’s conviction, ‘freedom of expression has ended’ in Hong Kong.
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