A Hong Kong court sentenced an activist dubbed as “Captain America 2.0” who carried the fictional superhero’s shield at protests to nearly six years in prison under the controversial national security law.
Judge Stanley Chan on Nov. 11 sentenced Ma Chun-man to five years and nine months in prison for “inciting subversion” when he chanted and displaye slogans at rallies last year that promoted Hong Kong’s independence from China.
Ma’s lawyer Chris Ng told reporters that he was not sure if there would be an appeal.
Ma’s sentencing is the second under the security law, which was passed last year.
Human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement that the sentencing “clearly shows that restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in Hong Kong are dangerously disproportionate.”
“The Hong Kong government must stop endlessly expanding its definition of ‘endangering national security’ as a means of locking up people who express views it doesn’t like,” Amnesty International Deputy Secretary General Kyle Ward said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the sentencing, saying that the security law “is being used to nullify Hong Kong people’s basic rights.”
“Shouting slogans that the authorities dislike is not a crime,” HRW Senior China Researcher Maya Wang said in a statement, urging governments around the world to call for Ma’s immediate release and to speak out against the threat to free speech.
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