Court acquits 10 student protesters over Executive Yuan break-in

2017/04/10 17:59:03 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Court acquits 10 student protesters over Executive Yuan break-in

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) Ten activists were found not guilty Monday of offenses related to the storming of the Executive Yuan during the 2014 Sunflower Movement while 11 others were given sentences of five months or less that will likely not have to be served.

Wei Yang (魏揚), the leader of the move to break into the Executive Yuan complex, was among eight activists found not guilty of inciting people to commit crimes, while two others were acquitted of aggravated larceny, according to the Taipei District Court ruling.

Among the 11 found guilty, eight were sentenced to three to five months in jail for obstructing public law enforcement, while the other three were given four to five month sentences for damaging public property.

The court said the prison sentences can be commuted to fines, meaning that none of those indicted for the break-in will likely spend any time behind bars.

The cases can still be appealed.

The Sunflower Movement arose in 2014 to protest the government's handling of the controversial agreement on trade in services signed with China.

The movement began on March 18, 2014 when students, civic groups and other activists occupied the Legislature. That was followed by the storming of the Executive Yuan on March 24 and a demonstration on April 11 that surrounded the Zhongzheng First Police Precinct in Taipei.

Prosecutors indicted a total of 155 protesters involved in the three events, including 132 involved in the Executive Yuan incident.

After a new government under the Democratic Progressive Party took over in May 2016, it ordered that all charges for criminal offenses indictable only upon receiving a formal complaint be dropped for 126 of the defendants.

The 21 offenses prosecuted by the state, including obstructing officers discharging their duties and inciting others to commit an offense, were unaffected by the government's decision.

Last month, the Taipei District Court acquitted 22 people who occupied the Legislature during the Sunflower Movement, including prominent student leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), and pro-independence activist Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), who led some 400 students to occupy the Legislative Yuan between March 18 and April 10, 2014.

The defendants were charged with offenses including obstructing officers in the discharge of duties and incitement to commit an offense.

(By Wang Yang-yu and Evelyn Kao)
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