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Umbrella Movement leaders arrested in Hongkong

Umbrella Movement leaders arrested in Hongkong

Student activist Joshua Wong has been sentenced to six months' jail over his role in the 2014 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, 20, was jailed for six months, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, 24, got eight months, and Alex Chow Yong-kang, 26, seven months.

Joshua Wong, 20, Alex Chow, 24, and Nathan Law, 26, were sentenced previous year to non-jail terms including community service for unlawful assembly, but Hong Kong's Department of Justice applied for a review, seeking imprisonment.

"I think this is a three-way collaboration between Carrie Lam's government, the government in Beijing and the court to send a clear message to protesters in Hong Kong", Shum said.

Wong said that he saw Beijing's tightening grip over Hong Kong's freedoms in the appeal and said yesterday that he was prepared to go to prison with no regrets.

Wong, who was 17 when he became the face of the student-led democracy movement, punched his fist in the air as he left the courtroom and shouted: "Hong Kong people don't give up". Law, who had become Hong Kong's youngest ever elected legislator, was sacked from his seat last month.

But pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip called the terms "reasonable and appropriate" as the Umbrella Movement protests had "seriously undermined Hong Kong's law and order and stability".

"They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up", Wong, 20, tweeted minutes after he received his sentence.

Wong, Law, and Chow are being jailed for over their decision to storm the forecourt of Hong Kong's government headquarters, together with around 100 other demonstrators, on September 26, 2014.

"I want to make it more positive - a few months is not too long a period", Chan said of his jailed friends.

"The government is determined to put peaceful protesters behind bars to mute all dissidents by abusing judicial procedures", their political party, Demosisto, said in a statement.

More news: North Korea's missile success is linked to Ukrainian plant, investigators say

The three judges at the appeals court were in agreement that tougher sentences were warranted to deter unlawful protests.

In 2014, the activists brought major thoroughfares to a standstill for 11 weeks to protest Beijing's plan to restrict elections in the Chinese-ruled former British colony.

The prison terms mean they can not run for public office for a period of five years.

On Wednesday, the night before the sentencing, others wept for Law, as he and Wong addressed hundreds of supporters gathered outside the square where they protested in 2014.

However, Willy Lam, adjunct professor at the Centre for China Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told TIME that "Reassessing completed sentences creates a risky precedent for Hong Kong due to the public perception that the judiciary could be buckling under pressure not only from the [local] administration but also from Beijing".

"We feel that the things he's done were for the Hong Kong people and Hong Kong's future", he told reporters.

But Hong Kong's justice department then sought to overturn those terms, with prosecutors arguing they should receive harsher punishment.

"The relentless and vindictive pursuit of student leaders using vague charges smacks of political payback by the authorities", said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

On Thursday, he was sentenced again on the same charge, this time to jail.

He called on the Senate to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would allow the U.S.to freeze assets and bar entry to those deemed responsible for "suppressing basic freedoms" in the city.


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