Ousted lawmaker and activist Nathan Law has said that he is prepared to go to jail on Thursday, as the Department of Justice seeks a harsher sentence for his unlawful assembly conviction.
Law and fellow activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow were previously convicted over their involvement in the Civic Square clash that led to the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests. Chow was given a three-week jail sentence with a one-year suspension. Wong was sentenced to 80 hours of community service, while Law was handed 120 hours. Although they had already completed their service, the Department of Justice applied for a review of the sentences at the beginning of August. It argued that the storming of the forecourt at government headquarters was planned, and that the court neglected the gravity of the offence.
On Wednesday, Law said on Facebook that he will face the judgement with “calm in his heart.”
“Every person who participated and who stood in solidarity with the Umbrella Movement – this jail sentence is for you, for the cause of justice. Do not apologise, but keep moving forward with determination in your heart.”
“Resistance does not emerge with hope; you can only have hope if you resist – was that not the lesson of the Umbrella movement?” said Law. “Politics may be the art of compromise. But the fight for democracy is the search for water in a dried-up well; it is the art of finding hope in the bleakest of circumstances… If you are despondent because of Hong Kong’s situation, I hope you think of the protesters who have been imprisoned and who are facing political suppression, and find hope in your heart for the sake of our city.”
Law was disqualified as a lawmaker by a court in July. He has yet to appeal. Should there be a by-election, it is uncertain whether he will be able to run.
‘My life’s honour’
On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal handed jail sentences to 13 activists who stormed the Legislative Council in 2014, following a successful legal challenge by the Department of Justice. The demonstrations were in response to Finance Committee chair Ng Leung-sing forcing a vote on a HK$340 million funding plan for the controversial northeast New Territories development proposal. The vote took place as pan-democrats were out of their seats.
In a radio interview with former lawmaker Audrey Eu and Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung, the father of jailed activist and Vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats Raphael Wong said that his heart was “heavy” as a result of Tuesday’s judgement. He said he was sure that the family members of the other 12 jailed protesters were also heartbroken.
“I hope that the other family members of the protesters will remember to stay strong. Your sons and your daughters – they are not going to prison because they have broken the law, but because they protected the villagers of the northeast New Territories, because they helped Hongkongers in need.”
“I want to say this to him: It is my life’s honour to have you as a son. I’ve never said this to him. But right here, right now, I have the courage to say it publicly,” Wong said. “Today, I am brave enough to do this interview because now that my son has been imprisoned, I want him to know that he is not alone on his path. I – our family – will walk the path right alongside him.”