The Court of Final Appeal has approved a bail application from jailed activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law.
Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma heard the applications during a short hearing on Tuesday morning.
They are to be released on a HK$50,000 bail until November 7 when their applications to appeal will be heard. They must surrender their passports, are not allowed to leave Hong Kong, and must report to police weekly.
The pair were sentenced to six and seven months in jail respectively in August by the Court of Appeal over their participation in the Civic Square clashes that led to the 2014 Occupy protests.
Justice Ma said their appeal was “not an entirely hopeless application,” and that the Department of Justice did not oppose the bail. He said it was unlikely the duo would try to flee and said the case was of importance and should he heard as soon as possible.
Wong’s father and Law’s mother each gave HK$50,000 in surety. Both are required to live at their residences.
Supporters chanted “Shame on political persecution” and “Long live the Umbrella Movement” before the hearing.
Wong has been imprisoned at the Tung Tau Correctional Institution and Law at the Tong Fuk Correctional Institution respectively.
Last year, they were found guilty of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly by the Magistrates Court. They were initially given a community service sentence, which they already served.
However, the Department of Justice won a sentence review pushing for harsher punishment, citing the need for “deterrence.”
Outside court, Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats, said he hoped the duo could help with reorganising the democratic movement during the two weeks they will be out of prison.
“It will give them some breathing room and we will see what we can do to mobilise the public,” he told HKFP.
Ng said he was optimistic about them being granted bail but was not certain about the result of the appeal they filed.
“They should not have been jailed in the first place,” he said.
— Demosistō 香港眾志
(@demosisto) October 24, 2017
Lawmaker Fernando Cheung said the pro-democracy camp will assemble a report based on the activists’ experiences in prison to the head of the Correctional Services Department to demand reforms in prisons over alleged inhumane treatment of prisoners.
Another Occupy leader Alex Chow was jailed for seven months and appealed his sentence. However, he did not apply for bail.