In response to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal overturning the jail sentences for three prominent pro-democracy activists, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong commented:
“The Court of Final Appeal has today corrected an injustice. The government’s vengeful pursuit of harsher sentences led to the trio being jailed and it is right this has now been overturned.
“All politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing those promoting democracy in Hong Kong must be dropped. The government’s unyielding stance is having a chilling effect on the human rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
In August 2017, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal handed Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law between six and eight months in prison for their roles in a demonstration that helped spark the city’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. The trio were released on bail in October and November 2017 pending their appeal.
At their first trial, Joshua Wong and Alex Chow were found guilty of “taking part in an unlawful assembly”. Nathan Law was found guilty of “inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly”. On appeal, prosecutors pursued harsher punishments for the student leaders after they were originally given non-custodial sentences.