Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Friday joined pro-democracy activists in denouncing the prison terms meted against Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam for their participation in the protests last year.
“I stand in solidarity with young activists in Hong Kong who are being persecuted for their courageous defense of democracy and justice, as I denounce in the strongest terms Wednesday’s sentencing of Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam to prison terms of 13 ½ months, 10 months and 7 months, respectively, for their participation in last year’s demonstration outside the Police Headquarters,” De Lima said in a statement.
“That these young activists could face extended jail time on additional charges, and as it is, are subjected to severe restrictions tantamount to psychological torture, is utterly despicable,” the senator stressed.
De Lima said she has a shared conviction with the three activists being unjustly detained herself for more than 3 and a half years now because she too, “dared to speak truth to power.”
“What I have with Mr. Wong, Ms. Chow and Mr. Lam is a shared conviction that though our oppressors may have locked us away, they can never strip us of our dignity and they can never crush our spirit as we remain fighting on the basis of truth, justice and the rights of our oppressed people,” she said.
“One thing is clear: We will prevail over the persecution, as we remain whole—unshakeable in our conviction to continue struggling for the rule of law and democracy, while we stay committed in our mission of realizing a humane and just society for all,” she stressed.
The lawmaker also said this latest attack on dissent furthers Beijing’s aggressive demolition of the remaining opposition movement in Hong Kong.
“But as writer Alan Moore said: ‘People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people’,” she reiterated.
“These pro-democracy activists have sacrificed their personal freedoms in defense of civil rights and liberties. In turn, it is now up to the rest of Hongkongers who remain free to push back harder lest they become tyranny’s next target,” De Lima said.