Brother-in-law of imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate loses appeal
Beijing court upholds 11-year sentence for fraud conviction
A policeman tries to stop a television news crew from running towards the court where the appeal verdict of Liu Hui was announced in the Huairou district of Beijing yesterday. A court rejected an appeal by Liu Hui, brother-in-law of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, upholding his 11-year sentence on fraud charges. Photograph: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic
A Chinese court has thrown out an appeal by the brother-in-law of Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, upholding his 11-year sentence on fraud charges.
In June, a court in Huairou found Liu Hui guilty of fraud in a property dispute and issued the sentence after a cursory hearing, just hours after President Xi Jinping met US president Barack Obama at a summit in California.
Liu Hui’s sentence had been seen as a harsh punishment for a business dispute, even by tough Chinese standards, and the rejection of the appeal has been seen as another example of official retribution on the Liu family.
Liu Xiaobo’s wife Liu Xia, who is the sister of Liu Hui, has remained under effective house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Prize in 2010. Her husband was already in jail when he won the prize, campaigning for democratic change in China.
‘Miscarriage of justice’
Liu Tong, Liu Hui’s brother, told reporters he was furious at the verdict. “This result fundamentally will make anyone angry, especially his family members. Because at its heart, it’s a miscarriage of justice,” he said. “The government says daily it wants to prevent wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice from happening, but everyone knows that this is a miscarriage of justice.”
Liu Xia said the original conviction was aimed at persecuting the whole family. She is rarely allowed out and is almost never allowed to receive visitors. She has not been convicted of any crime.
She did not appear at the court yesterday as she was feeling unwell, Liu Tong said. She was resting at home and her physical condition was “very fragile”, he added.
Liu Hui, a manager in a real estate company in the southern city of Shenzhen, was convicted of defrauding a man called Zhang Bing of three million yuan (€370,000) with another colleague, lawyer Mo Shaoping told reporters. He denies the charges and says they are politically motivated.
Supporters say his case was trumped up, aimed at thwarting the increasing attention by the rights community on the plight of Ms Liu.
Liu Xiaobo is an academic and long-time dissident, who was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the Chinese army. He was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for organising a petition urging the overthrow of one-party rule.
Liu Hui was allowed out on bail last September, but arrested again in January.