12 Feb 2010

Appeal by dissident rejected

9:37 am on 12 February 2010

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has had an appeal against an 11-year prison sentence rejected by a court in Beijing.

Liu was convicted six weeks ago on charges of subversion, to widespread international condemnation.

The United States, the EU and several European countries criticised the ruling and called for Liu's immediate release.

In 2008, Liu co-wrote a direct appeal to Chinese authorities calling for expanded political freedoms.

The dissident's wife, Liu Xia, said he had not been allowed to speak during the trial.

Diplomats from 17 countries were outside the court when the appeal was rejected.

China has dismissed international criticism as interference in its domestic affairs.

Liu, 54, was previously jailed over the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

The BBC reports he has been in prison since 2008, after being arrested for co-writing a petition known as Charter 08.

It called for greater freedoms and democratic reforms in China, including an end to one-party rule.

The former university professor is the only person to have been arrested for organising the Charter 08 appeal.