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February 12, 2010

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Liu loses appeal over jail term

THE Beijing Higher People's Court yesterday rejected Liu Xiaobo's appeal and upheld the first trial's guilty verdict on charges of agitation aimed at subverting the government.

Liu was jailed for 11 years on December 25, 2009, by the city's First Intermediate People's Court.

A statement from the higher court said the verdict was made after it reviewed case files, questioned Liu, heard defense lawyers and conducted a second trial.

Liu's file shows that he has been engaged in agitation activities for a long time. He was convicted of agitation in 1991 but was exempted from criminal penalty that year. He was punished with a three-year re-education through compulsory labor sentence in 1996 for disturbing social order.

Liu spread his agitation through the Internet and also organized and induced others to sign the petition, which has been widely republished and browsed on the Internet, according to his file.

"Liu's verdict is sound on legal basis and factual proof," said Gao Mingxuan, president of the International Association of Penal Law China Branch.

According to the Constitution, Chinese citizens' exercise of their freedoms and rights should not infringe upon the interests of the state, society or the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens.

Gao said Liu had already published articles which exceeded the boundaries of freedom of expression.

Liu had spread "anti-government rumors and slander, and persuaded other people to join activities aimed at overturning the government," Gao said.

"The court's verdict is in accordance with China's criminal law and is in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as internationally recognized restriction of norms regarding freedom of expression," he said.


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