China upholds sentence of Liu Xiaobo's brother-in-law

Policemen speak to diplomats at the entrance of a court where the appeal verdict of Liu Hui is announced, in the Huairou district of Beijing, 16 August 2013 Diplomats and journalists were not allowed to enter the court house

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A court in China has upheld the jail sentence given to the brother-in-law of jailed dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Relatives of Liu Hui, who was given 11 years on fraud charges in June, say the sentence was politically motivated.

Diplomats and journalists were not allowed to enter the court house during the hearing.

Liu Xiaobo was already in jail when he won the Nobel Prize in 2010 campaigning for democratic change in China.

Liu Hui, a manager in a property company, was found guilty of defrauding a man of 3m yuan ($490,800; £314,000) along with a colleague.

There was heavy police presence outside the court house, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing.

An EU diplomat who was there said the case of Mr Liu was being closely watched.

"The government says daily it wants to prevent wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice from happening, but everyone in our circle knows that this is a miscarriage of justice," Liu Hui's brother, Liu Tong, told Reuters news agency.

Liu Hui's lawyer, Shang Baojun, said his client expected the verdict.

"He wasn't extremely agitated. Because in China, the original sentence is upheld in a extremely high proportion of appeal verdicts," he told Reuters.

The wife of Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, was expected to attend her brother's hearing. But according to her lawyer, she was feeling unwell.

Despite facing no criminal charges, she has been held under house arrest since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Liu Xiaobo, who won the prize despite fierce Chinese opposition, was jailed in 2009 for helping to draft a manifesto - Charter 08 - calling for political change.

He is currently serving 11 years in jail for inciting the subversion of state power.

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