8 UK MPs 'condemn use of vague and ambiguous common law charges' ahead of Occupy Movement leaders trial

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Eight British Members of Parliament have condemned the “use of vague and ambiguous common law charges apparently intended to intimidate and silence pro-democracy figures” in Hong Kong, ahead of the trial of 9 leaders of Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement which begins on Monday, 19 November.

The cross-party group of MPs, including from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Scottish National Party and Democratic Unionist Party, put forward a Parliamentary Motion which raises concerns about the charges of 'conspiracy to public nuisance', 'incitement to public nuisance', and 'incitement to incite public nuisance'. 

The motion, tabled by Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission and Member of Parliament for Congleton, sets out concerns about "vague and ambiguous charges each carrying seven years’ imprisonment". 

The MPs highlight the fact that this trial is not in isolation, saying that: "More than 100 pro-democracy protestors have been charged, and many jailed, on the basis of common law charges which curtail freedom of expression and have been criticised by the United Nations Human Rights Committee."

 In the motion the MPs call on the British Government to raise the issue with the Hong Kong Government and consider further action, "in view of our commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration."

One of the Occupy leaders whose trial begins is Benny Tai, who spoke at the Conservative Party Conference in Britain at the end of September, at an event hosted by Fiona Bruce and the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission.  

List of signatories

Fiona Bruce, Conservative Party

Bob Blackman, Conservative Party

Peter Bottomley, Conservative Party

Jim Cunningham, Labour Party

Catherine West, Labour Party

Mary Glindon, Labour Party

Jim Shannon, Democratic Unionist Party

Christopher Stephens, Scottish National Party


The full text of Early Day Motion 1830: HONG KONG UMBRELLA MOVEMENT TRIALS

That this House notes with concern the upcoming trial on 19 November 2018 of nine leaders of the Hong Kong Umbrella movement, including the co-founders of the Occupy Central campaign Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Professor Chan Kin-man, and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming; is further concerned that they are facing vague and ambiguous charges with each carrying seven years’ imprisonment; condemns the use of common law charges apparently intended to intimidate and silence pro-democracy figures including conspiracy to commit public nuisance, incitement to public nuisance and to incitement to incite public nuisance; notes that more than 100 pro-democracy protesters have been charged, and many jailed, on the basis of common law charges which curtail freedom of expression and have been criticised by the United Nations Human Rights Committee; and urges the Government, in view of our commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, to raise the issue with the Government of Hong Kong and consider further actions.

For more see: https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1830 

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