Hong Kong convicts student leaders of illegal assembly

Student leaders of pro-democracy protests in 2014 were found guilty of illegal assembly by a Hong Kong court on Thursday, as Amnesty International said the decision sent a "chilling warning for freedom of expression."

Joshua Wong and Alex Chow were convicted for climbing into a fenced-off area in front of the government headquarters in September 2014, Radio Television Hong Kong said.

Student Nathan Law was found guilty of inciting people to join the protest.

The students could face up to five years' imprisonment.

"I don't regret my commitment to the Umbrella Movement," Wong told dpa.

"This conviction will be more pressure, but it doesn't mean I'll step [back] from my responsibility [of fighting for democracy]"

Wong and Law are now part of a newly formed political party, Demosisto, which is planning to field candidates in September's legislative council elections.

Amnesty said the convictions "send a chilling warning for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the city."

"The prosecution of student leaders on vague charges smacks of political payback by the authorities," said Mabel Au, head of Amnesty in Hong Kong.

Amnesty noted that Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance, on which the prosecutions were based, had been criticized by the UN Human Rights Committee for "failing to fully meet international human rights law and standards on the right of peaceful assembly."

"The authorities must stop using vague laws in an attempt to intimidate people from exercising their right to peaceful assembly," Au said.

Last update: Thu, 21/07/2016 - 12:21

More from World

Clowns worry about their image following wave of scary clown attacks

German circus owners have joined the nation's clowns in expressing alarm about the damage to the image of clowns...

Russia not considering new ceasefire in Aleppo, state media reports

A Russian minister said Monday that Moscow was not considering a new ceasefire in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo...

India’s key Muslim shrine to lift ban on entry to women

A trust that runs Mumbai's Haji Ali mosque said on Monday it will revoke a ban on women entering the inner sanctum...

3 civilians, trooper killed in India-Pakistan border clashes

Three civilians and a trooper were killed while several were injured in cross-border firing between the forces of...

South Korean president backs constitution change to allow second term

The South Korean constitution should be changed to allow the president a second term in office, and the terms...