06/11/2018, 09.14
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Leader of the independence movement sentenced to six years in prison

Edward Leung took part in the clashes in February 2016. He is charged with participating in a riot. Card. Zen among those calling for a reduction in the sentence.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Edward Leung, the "face" of the Hong Kong separatists, will face six years in prison.

The ruling was issued today by the High Court. Leung, 27, was convicted for his role in the demonstrations of 8-9 February 2016 in the district of Mong Kong, marked by violent clashes between police and demonstrators. The days following the "Mong Kok fish ball revolution", many have accused the security forces of excessive violence and even beating innocent passersby.

The court accuses Leung of having "actively participated in a riot", and of behaving in a "brutal" way without reason. The activist has already served a one-year sentence for assaulting a police officer, a charge he admitted.

Kin-man and Wong Ka-kui, two other pro-independence activists, were also sentenced to seven and three and a half years in prison respectively.

Several Hong Kong personalities have come out publically in favor of Leung to demand a reduction of the sentence. Chief among these is former parliamentarian Margaret Ng Oi-yee. Alongside Ng - who defined Leung as a "talent" of his generation - there is also the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, and the British representative Rodney Elton.

Leung is considered the leader of the "localist" movement, born from the ashes of the "Umbrella uprising" of autumn 2014. A product of popular discontent, the group accuses China of exerting increasing control over the city, breaking the agreement signed in 1997 with the United Kingdom, according to which the autonomy of Hong Kong must be respected for 50 years.

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