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Hong Kong court lets democracy activist Joshua Wong walk free
07 February 2018, 12:37 | Darnell Patrick
Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong Alex Chow and Nathan Law walk out of the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong yesterday
"Maybe more and more activists will be locked up because of this harsh judgement", Wong, 21, told reporters on the courthouse steps after the decision.
The case sparked controversy, because a magistrate initially gave the three lenient sentences, but the justice secretary requested a review that resulted in prison time ranging from six to eight months, raising worries about judicial independence and rule of law in the territory.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal said it had unanimously "quashed the sentences of imprisonment", adding that the jail terms given to the three had been "significantly more severe" than those given for previous cases of unlawful assembly.
Their jail sentences attracted worldwide attention, with rights groups accusing the government of cracking down on political protesters. "We just urge people to continue to fight for democracy".
The judges said: "There is no constitutional justification for violent unlawful behavior". Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials accused the American politicians of interfering in domestic Chinese affairs.
As an experienced lawyer in Hong Kong, Mr.
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The sit-in became known as the "Umbrella movement" after protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas fired by police.
But in recent months Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp has sustained several blows.
Besides the trio of Wong, Law and Chow, dozens of other mostly young democracy activists have also been jailed, or are facing court proceedings that could see them incarcerated for various forms of rights activism, in what some see as a concerted attempt by authorities to curtail the momentum of the city's youth-led democracy movement. The disqualifications killed the pro-democracy lawmakers' veto powers in the legislative council.
The three Hong Kong democracy activists convicted previous year on charges of unlawful assembly and incitement, for their part in sparking 2014's Occupy protests in the city, won their appeal against prison terms on Tuesday. He was granted bail in that case as well as he pursues an appeal.
Wong and Law's political party Demosisto wants self-determination for the city.
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