On Thursday, pro-democracy activist and Civic Charter supporter Joshua Wong, 20, was sentenced to six months in prison for his role in the student-led pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. The Appeals court also handed custodial sentences to Alex Chow, 26, for seven months and Nathan Law, 24, for eight months. Prosecutors sought to make an example of the trio after they pursued harsher sentencing following their original non-custodial sentences last year.
Burkhard Gnärig, Executive Director of the International Civil Society Centre, said:
“This abhorrent and politically-motivated move from Hong Kong authorities is a direct attack on freedom of expression and right to peaceful protest. The aim of the authorities is clearly to deter people from exercising their basic civic rights. We strongly protest against the oppression of civic rights in Hong Kong.
Joshua has been a vocal and active leader in defending civic participation. Now the international community must respond by speaking up for civic rights in Hong Kong.”
In his statement on the Civic Charter Joshua Wong points out:
“Though we may come from different backgrounds and cultures, and have different systems and histories, we believe in the same universal principles of human freedom.”
It is for this reason that Civil Society Organisations around the world are standing in solidarity with Joshua, Alex and Nathan, and call for their sentence to be overturned.