Four of the nine pro-democracy leaders found guilty over Hong Kong's 2014 Occupy protests were jailed for up to 16 months on Wednesday for their roles in the biggest civil disobedience movement in the city's history.
Two founders, academics Benny Tai Yiu-ting, 54 and Dr Chan Kin-man, 60, received the longest jail terms. Also jailed for eight months were legislator Shiu Ka-chun, 49, and League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming, 30.
Because of his poor health and years of contribution to society, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, 75, the third founder, had his 16-month sentence suspended for two years.
Former lawmaker Lee Wing-tat, 63, also had his eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years for his years of service.
Former student leaders Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, 25, and Eason Chung Yiu-wa, 26, were sentenced to 200 hours of community service and eight months' jail respectively, but Chung had his term suspended. Their young ages were taken into consideration. All were sentenced by Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng at West Kowloon Court.
Lawmaker Tanya Chan, 47, had her sentencing adjourned after it was revealed she was suffering from a life-threatening condition and would have to undergo brain surgery in two weeks.
Before the ruling, Chan's lawyer dropped a bombshell by presenting the lawmaker's MRI brain scan, asking the court to adjourn sentencing for her. The judge then postponed this to June 10.
The severity of her condition was underscored by exchanges between Ma and the judge, although details were not revealed.
Ma offered on his client's behalf to surrender Chan's passport as part of the bail condition, only to be asked by the judge if she could even travel in her current state.
"Honestly, she cannot," the barrister replied.
Earlier in the day and before court proceedings commenced, scores of pro-Beijing supporters gathered outside the court building, chanting through loudspeakers: "You have to pay for occupying Central."
Speaking before walking into court, Chan Kin-man said the group of nine would only discuss appeal matters after the sentencing.
"In the verdict, the judge commented that we were naive " believing that by having an Occupy movement, we can attain democracy," Chan said.
"But what is more naive than believing in 'one country, two systems'?" He was referring to the policy under which Hong Kong is granted a high degree of autonomy by Beijing.
Tai, also speaking before the sentencing, said he felt "peaceful and hopeful".
What is more naive than believing in 'one country, two systems'?Chan Kin-man
Chu urged pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong not to give up even if all nine were jailed.
The group walked into court surrounded by supporters, who chanted: "We want genuine universal suffrage."
More than 100 people with yellow umbrellas, the symbol of the movement, had also awaited the arrival of the nine on the ground floor of the court building. Some wore yellow T-shirts with the words "I was not incited", in defiance of court findings that the group had incited others to block roads during the protest.
Tai and Shiu said prayers and sang hymns with a small group, before joining other leaders to address journalists and supporters.
They received rounds of thunderous applause when they turned up on the fourth floor outside the courtroom where they would learn their fate.
The sentencing marked the end of years of prosecutions brought against leaders and participants who took part in the 79-day protest, also known as the "umbrella movement", that called for political change in the city.
The nine could still overturn their convictions on appeal.
Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, lawmakers jailed for more than a month can be removed from office if two-thirds of legislators vote against them.
Those absent for more than three months can be discharged from their duties by the Legislative Council president.
During mitigation, Chan Kin-man, Tai and Wong urged the judge not to jail Chu, citing worries for his health.
Security measures were stepped up with metal barricades erected outside the court a day earlier, as supporters packed the courtroom and space outside, where proceedings were live-streamed.
The protests, which began on September 28, 2014, in Admiralty, were sparked by frustration with a restrictive framework Beijing had set for the election of Hong Kong's leader.
Pro-democracy activists had been expecting to elect a leader of their choosing through a one-person, one-vote system, but were outraged that they would have to settle for a pool of preselected candidates.
A little more than a month after Beijing's ruling, protesters poured into Admiralty, Wan Chai and Central, blocking major thoroughfares in the heart of the city. Police fired tear gas but failed to disperse them.
The nine were found guilty of a range of public nuisance charges on April 9 following an 18-day trial that revisited the civil disobedience movement through testimony from police officers, footage of the protests and the words of those who took part, including Chan Kin-man's.
But judge Chan called the protest plan unrealistic, saying it would be naive to think "a concession to introduce the form of universal suffrage advocated by the trio could be made by the government overnight with a click of its fingers".
Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Tai and Chan were also convicted of one count of inciting others to commit the same offence. The three were acquitted of one count of inciting others to incite, and Chu was also cleared of one count of incitement.
Tanya Chan, Shiu, Cheung, Chung and Wong were all found guilty of one count each of inciting others to incite and one count each of inciting. Lee was found guilty of one incitement charge.
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