Hong Kong, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was denied bail on Wednesday as she awaits an appeal against a 10-month jail term handed to her last week.
The 24-year-old was jailed on Dec. 2, along with Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam, over an “unauthorized assembly” in June last year that saw thousands of protesters besiege the city’s police headquarters.
The only one of the three without a criminal record, Chow pleaded guilty to charges of incitement and taking part in an unauthorized assembly, along with Wong and Lam who were sentenced to 13.5 months and seven months in prison respectively.
The sentencing is by far the toughest and most high-profile in connection with last year’s months-long anti-government protest movement in Hong Kong.
If the trio do not appeal their sentences, they are expected to complete their full sentences. In Hong Kong, there is no set length of jail term below which it can be suspended.
Chow’s defense argued Wednesday that the sentence was too long in comparison to similar cases and that Chow had not instigated violence during the demonstration.
However, High Court judge Judianna Barnes rejected Chow’s bail request, saying she did not think the activist’s appeal against her sentence had a reasonable chance of success.
Chow’s lawyer told journalists that she was disappointed at the judge’s decision and that Chow is physically not in good shape. Chow also urged through the lawyer for people to also pay attention other activists in custody.
Another case is pending against Chow after she was arrested in August for alleged breaches of the sweeping national security law recently imposed by Beijing.
In theory, the law aimed to defuse the biggest crisis recently experienced in the financial hub after the wave of protests in 2019 that often ended in violence between the police and radical protesters.
Since then, there have been numerous police raids and arrests of activists, and some have chosen to go into exile to avoid reprisal.
According to Amnesty International, to date more than 10,000 people have been arrested in connection with the 2019 protests and more than 2,000 have faced prosecution on charges such as “rioting,” “illegal assembly” and “possession of weapons.” EFE-EPA