HONG KONG – Three prominent student leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, popularly called the Umbrella Revolution, were set free on Tuesday after more than a year of legal disputes.
The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal ruled in favor of the appeals by Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow against jail terms given last year for their involvement in the protests.
The trio said that they were urging the people to continue to fight for democracy, and now is not the moment for any celebration.
Wong and Law were sentenced to community service, while Chow received a suspended sentence in 2016 for their role in the protests and for clashing with the police in front of the Chief Executive’s office and the parliament, which unleashed the Umbrella Revolution, which lasted 79 days and paralyzed large parts of the city.
A petition by the Hong Kong government, which considered the punishments too lenient, led to a new ruling on Aug. 17, 2017, which sentenced the leaders to between six and eight months in prison.
In Tuesday’s sentence, the court agreed that the initial sentence should have been stricter, but considered that it should not be applied retroactively.
Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma said that any disturbance or any degree of violence are aggravating factors, but decided to not apply the sentences given in 2017.