Legislative Assembly (AL) President Ho Iat Seng said in a statement on Monday that the House Rules Committee will study and announce its decision by next Monday on a request by the Court of First Instance (TJB) to suspend directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou from the legislature so that he can be tried by the court for alleged aggravated disobedience. The trial is slated to begin on November 28, according to the statement.
Sou’s suspension would allow the trial to go ahead. Ho’s statement said that the legislature had received the court’s request on November 7.
According to the statement, the House Rules Committee will hold a meeting on Thursday to assess the request.
According to the Macau Post Daily, prosecution of offences allegedly committed by a lawmaker that are punishable by less than three years must be authorised by the legislature.
According to Article 312 of the Macau Penal Code, aggravated disobedience is punishable by up to two years behind bars.
According to judicial sources, Sou and fellow activist Scott Meng Hin stand accused of aggravated disobedience in the wake of a demonstration last year against the Macau Foundation’s decision to donate 100 million yuan to Jinan University in Guangzhou.
After the demonstration, which had been authorised by the authorities, some of the demonstrators reportedly disobeyed police orders to not walk up to an area outside the official residence of the chief executive on Penha Hill. The police accused the protesters at that time of various crimes such as taking part in an illegal gathering and causing public disorder.
Sou responded to his possible suspension from the legislature by saying in a statement on Facebook last night that he fully respected the procedures by the legislature and judiciary. However, he insisted that he does not agree with the aggravated disobedience charge since he and his fellow protesters were merely “expressing their opinions”. He described the judicial action as “abusive prosecution” and a “clear violation of the civil rights enshrined in the Macau Basic Law.
Sou is the only elected member of the New Macau Association (NMA), which is known to be highly critical of the local government.