Professor found not-guilty over illegal protest charges
The China Post news staff
July 15, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Taiwan University assistant professor Lee Ming-tsung (李明璁) was yesterday given a not-guilty verdict by the Taipei District Court over charges of violating the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).
Lee was previously indicted for his involvement in the Wild Strawberries Movement (野草莓運動).
The district court ruled that Lee was not the initiator of the movement, and said that since the protest in question was of an emergency nature, protesters were not obligated to apply for permits; therefore, Lee was found not guilty of violating the act.
Lee, several scholars and students accused police of using excessive force against protesters during the second meeting between then-Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and then-Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in November 2008. To protest against the police, Lee and others staged a sit-in in front of the Executive Yuan; the event was dubbed the Wild Strawberries Movement. Police arrived on the scene, issuing a dismissal order after several warnings on the basis that the protesters did not have a permit.
Lee was deemed to have masterminded the protest, which police regarded as illegal, and was subsequently charged with violating Article 29 of the aforementioned act, which stipulates that the initiator of a protest should be imprisoned or detained if the protest in question is not dismissed after police have given a dismissal order.
In March this year, the Grand Justices issued Judicial Interpretation No. 718, maintaining that a portion of the Assembly and Parade Act was unconstitutional, allowing for protests of an emergency nature to be held without permits.
Although having received a not-guilty verdict, Lee's case can be appealed.