Two prominent faces of the pro-democracy student movement in Hong Kong have been released on bail on Tuesday, 24 October pending further appeal on their prison sentences. Student leaders Joshua Wong, 21, and Nathan Law, 24, were freed by Hong Kong's Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, who chairs the Court of Final Appeal.
The young activists were convicted of stoking massive protests in 2014 at the height of the pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong, which called for sweeping democratic reforms and lessening China's influence on the semi-autonomous state. After they were given a sentence of community service, the Hong Kong government sought custodial sentences of the students, which was granted in August.
The duo, who led the political party Demosisto, have been granted bail by the court after a 10-minute hearing on Tuesday (24 October) and will return home after spending two months in custody. Besides submitting $6,400 (£4,860) cash for the bail, they were also asked to turn in their passports.
While their prosecutors did not object to the bail, the two of them will have to report at designated police stations once a week. "We hope they could soon regain their freedom and return to their respective posts to strive on," said Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, a core member of Demosisto.
A formal hearing on their appeal against the jail sentence is set for hearing on 7 October. Wong was given six months and Law eight months for their roles in galvanising massive demonstrations, which brought the financial hub to a standstill for more than two months in 2014. A third student union leader Alex Chow Yong-kong, 27, was also jailed along with the pair and still remains behind bars since he did not apply for bail.
Their sentences will not allow them to take part in Hong Kong elections for the next five years.