Democrat group New Macau Association (ANM) submitted an appeal to the court in the hopes of reversing the Public Security Police Force’s (PSP) decision to decline its vigil that was to be held on June 4.
Represented by lawmaker Sulu Sou and a director of the group, Rocky Chan, the ANM considered the police’s decision as a hasty action.
The group submitted a 16-page appeal to the Court of Final Appeal, which, according to the law, has immediate authority over cases related to assembly and protest declarations.
It is stipulated by law that the top-level court must announce a judgment within five days of the submission of an appeal. Given the democrat group only submitted the appeal on June 1, it will very likely miss the proposed date, unless the court issues an early judgment in favor of the group.
Citing the legislative committee’s recommendation on the law concerning civil assembly and protest, the group noted: “restrictions [on civil rights] […] should not impact the nature of these rights.”
In addition, the group cited a number of law scholars and international entities, as well as texts from international treaties, to try to prove that the ban on its vigil had no legal grounds.
For example, the International Treaty of Civil and Political Rights has been quoted, which says that “The restriction must be necessary […] and must respond to a pressing social need.” Additionally, “it must be the least intrusive option”.
Most importantly, according to the group, the guidelines issued by the Health Bureau, on which the PSP has based its objection, are not legally binding. On top of that, the Law on the Prevention, Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, as cited by the police, only authorizes certain powers to the head of the government. The group suspects that the PSP has transgressed its legal authority.
Similar to lawmaker Au Kam San’s declaration of holding a June 4 vigil, which has also been objected to by the PSP, the ANM declared its own version of the vigil.
The ANM vigil consists of four different events scheduled to happen simultaneously at four different locations. In its appeal, the group made an estimation that the events would have an attendance of five people at its peak.
DUO FOUND GUILTY OF HOSTING UNDECLARED ASSEMBLY
On the other hand, two leaders of the Macau Federation for Family Reunion have been found guilty, by a court of law, for hosting an assembly without a prior declaration to the PSP. The judgment was announced on May 29.
The Court of First Instance sentenced the suspects to different penalties: one suspect to three months of imprisonment with one year probation, and the other to five months in prison with 1.5 years’ probation. Both were charged with aggravated disobedience.
On July 26, 2019, the duo hosted an assembly that attracted other participants at the entrance of China Plaza, where the office of several government departments, particularly of the Identification Bureau, is located.
Police officers at the location requested several times for them to disperse, and informed that charges would be pressed against the organizers, who neglected the police warning.