Brother-in-law of Nobel peace laureate sentenced to 11 years in prison

Liu Hui found guilty of fraud in property dispute and sentenced after cursory hearing

A relative comforts Liu Xia (left), wife of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, as she cries outside Huairou Detention Centre  in Huairou district, on the outskirts of Beijing, where her brother Liu Hui was jailed yesterday. Photograph: AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

A relative comforts Liu Xia (left), wife of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, as she cries outside Huairou Detention Centre in Huairou district, on the outskirts of Beijing, where her brother Liu Hui was jailed yesterday. Photograph: AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

 


A court in suburban Beijing sentenced the brother-in-law of Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to 11 years in prison yesterday. This was a notably harsh punishment for a business dispute, even by tough Chinese standards, and Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, said it was aimed at persecuting the whole family.

The 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 an informal summit in California.

Mr Liu, who is a manager in a real estate company in the southern city of Shenzhen, was convicted on charges 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.

The 11-year sentence for a business dispute is harsh and tallies with the 11-year sentence the human rights laureate Liu Xiaobo is currently serving after being convicted of subversion.

Family members and their supporters have said the prosecution of Liu Hui is meant as further punishment of the Nobel laureate’s family and is intended to intimidate other political activists.