04/25/2019

Urgent Action Update: Four Umbrella Movement Leaders Imprisoned (Hong Kong: UA 191.18)


Four leaders of the 2014 Hong Kong pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests have been sentenced to eight to 16 months’ imprisonment, on conviction of “public nuisance” related charges for “obstructing public places and roads” during the protests. They are prisoners of conscience imprisoned solely for peacefully advocating for democracy in Hong Kong. Their imprisonment sets a precedent that government could use vague and ambiguous charges for blanket prosecution and imprisonment of peaceful protesters, exacerbating the chilling effect on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in Hong Kong.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 191.18. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
The Hon. Carrie Lam
Chief Executive
Government of the Hong Kong SAR
Office of the Chief Executive
Tamar, Hong Kong
Fax: +852 2509 0580
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 I Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Chief Executive:

On 24 April 2019, four leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests, Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Professor Chan Kin-man, Raphael Wong Ho-ming and Shiu Ka-chun, were sentenced to eight to 16 months’ imprisonment, on conviction of “public nuisance” related charges for “obstructing public places and roads” during the protests.

The nine were convicted of vague and ambiguous charges, including “conspiracy to commit public nuisance”, “incitement to commit public nuisance” and “incitement to incite public nuisance”, solely for their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It is the first time the government used these charges against peaceful protestors. Prosecutors based the charges on common-law offenses, which allows for harsher sentences compared to similar charges under statutory law. In this case, evidence of “incitement” included newspaper articles directed to the public at large; press conference statements and media interviews that happened months before the protests; and videos taken by the police of protest leaders using loudspeakers to urge participants to invite others to join the protests.

The conviction and the imprisonment of the four sets a worrying precedent that these vague and ambiguous charges could be used for blanket prosecution and imprisonment of peaceful protesters, exacerbating the chilling effect on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in Hong Kong.

I call on you to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of the four prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for peacefully advocating for democracy in Hong Kong, and that their convictions are overturned without delay.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES