26 Dec 2009

Anger over jailing of dissident

11:51 am on 26 December 2009

The jailing of a leading dissident in China, Liu Xiaobo, for subversion has drawn criticism from the United States, the United Nations and the EU.

Liu, 53, was sentenced on Friday in Beijing to a term of 11 years in prison.

He was arrested in 2008 after helping co-author a document known asCharter 08, a petition urging political change in China, including an end to one-party rule.

The UN human rights commissioner said it was "extremely harsh" verdict.

Liu's wife said he would appeal. She was allowed to see her husband for the first time since March at his sentencing.

Liu's lawyer said he had pleaded not guilty to charges of "inciting subversion of state power".

The former university professor is a veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

The BBC reports he is the only person to have been arrested for organising the petition, but others who signed it are reportedly being harassed.