Campaigners in Hong Kong and abroad say it is vindictive to imprison pro-democracy protestors over a sit-in. They are right
The jailing of Joshua Wong, Hong Kong’s youthful “face of protest”, and of his fellow activists Nathan Law and Alex Chow, is technically a matter of law but in reality one of politics. Two of them had already carried out community service for unlawful assembly or inciting unlawful assembly; the third had received a suspended sentence. That was not enough. They have been at the forefront of the pro-democracy movement, inspiring many more in Hong Kong to rally in defence of the greater freedoms it has enjoyed compared to the mainland under the “one country-two systems” formula. Authorities have been determined to silence these voices. By appealing against the “rather dangerous” supposed leniency of the original sentences, they have succeeded, for now.
The trio were among those who forced their way into Civic Square, just outside government offices, to hold a sit-in in 2014. Their arrests helped to spark the Umbrella Movement, an unprecedented mass act of peaceful civil disobedience which gave the lie to the belief that Hong Kong people do not care about politics or civil rights, only prosperity and stability. Many do; but young people in particular are increasingly concerned about the erosion of the region’s way of life – theoretically guaranteed until 2047, 50 years after handover, but in reality worn down at an increasing speed.
When Brenda Avelica’s father was arrested and threatened with immediate deportation while driving her sisters to school, the video was shared all over the world. Six months on, she describes the impact of his detention on her family
My life has changed drastically since 28 February when my father, Rómulo Avelica-Gonzalez, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) agents as part of President Trump’s effort to fulfil his campaign promise to deport immigrants with criminal records.
While my father sits in a detention center, I wake up every morning with an upset stomach and a nervous, worrisome feeling. I describe it as like getting knocked down by a large wave.
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We have come to understand just how profoundly my dad had dedicated his life to us
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Judges order Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to pay damages for destroying 10 mausoleums and religious sites in 2012
A former Islamist militant who was jailed for destroying holy sites in Timbuktu is liable for damages of €2.7m (£2.5m), judges at the international criminal court (ICC) have ruled.
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Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong given six to eight month sentences for roles in anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movement
Hong Kong’s democracy movement has suffered the latest setback in what has been a punishing year after three of its most influential young leaders were jailed for their roles in a protest at the start of a 79-day anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movement.
Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong, the bespectacled student dubbed Hong Kong’s “face of protest” were sentenced to between six and eight months imprisonment each.
Beijing’s heavy hand is on display for all to see.
I’ll be pleased when marriage equality is recognised by Australian law. But we need to consider practical religious freedom questions and give institutions time to adapt
- Fr Frank Brennan is CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia
Countries such as the US, the UK, New Zealand and Canada already recognise same-sex marriages. They also have bills of rights which accord some recognition to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Australia does not yet recognise same-sex marriages – not even those marriages recognised in their countries of origin. Neither does Australia have a bill of rights with the result that the federal protection of rights such as freedom of religion is more piecemeal than in other countries. In Australia, the tendency has been to treat the freedom of religion on contested questions as an exemption to sex discrimination laws. This results in freedom of religion being treated as a second order right. But in international law, it is a first order “non-derogable” right.
Related: ‘You don’t speak for me’: Christian support for marriage equality is growing | Keith Mascord
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