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Hong Kong Student Activists Appeal Jail Sentences


Newly elected lawmaker Nathan Law (C), student leaders Joshua Wong (R) and Alex Chow meet journalists outside a court before a hearing.

Three young Hong Kong democracy activists returned to court Tuesday to appeal their convictions and jail sentences for leading massive protests in 2014.

Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow initially received non-custodial sentences by a lower court in 2016 for storming a courtyard on the grounds of the government's headquarters in September 2014, which led to the "Umbrella Revolution" that shut down several major highways for more than two months, in a demand for fully free elections.

But prosecutors successfully convinced the court the original sentences were too lenient during a hearing in August. The 21-year-old Wong was sentenced to serve six months in jail, 24-year-old Law to eight months, and 27-year-old Chow to a seven-month sentence.

Activists in support of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong protest in front of the Chinese Consular office in Makati city, metro Manila, Oct. 2, 2014.
Activists in support of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong protest in front of the Chinese Consular office in Makati city, metro Manila, Oct. 2, 2014.

Defense attorney Robert Pang argued during Tuesday's hearings at the Court of Final Appeal that upholding the jail sentences could potentially stifle expression by Hong Kong's youth.

The court adjourned without announcing a final decision, which the justices said would come at a later date. The trio remain free on bail pending their appeals.

Hong Kong enjoys numerous freedoms under the 1997 deal that handed the city back to China from British rule, although Beijing maintains a close watch on it.

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