A Hong Kong court on Thursday denied bail to 32 of 47 democracy activists accused of violating a security law imposed by Beijing after a four-day hearing.
The activists are charged with conspiracy to commit subversive acts. They were detained Sunday for their participation in an unofficial primary election that authorities said sought to paralyze the Hong Kong government.
The mass charges against the activists are the broadest crackdown on the democracy movement since the national security law went into effect in June last year.
The jailing of the 32 activists until the next hearing, scheduled for May 31, means that most of the movement’s leading figures will be imprisoned or in self-imposed exile as the crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city continues.
The hearings, which began on Monday, often ran late into the night.
Under the current legal system, bail is generally granted to those accused of non-violent crimes. But the national security law eliminated that presumption by including a clause under which a judge can deny bail if he believes the defendants might continue to commit acts that endanger national security.
The 47 defendants were among a group of 55 activists arrested in January for their participation in the primary elections. No charges were filed against eight of them on Sunday.