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Lawyer: China dissident sentenced to 11 years

Banners and yellow ribbons hang outside the China liaison office in Hong Kong following Friday's verdict.
Banners and yellow ribbons hang outside the China liaison office in Hong Kong following Friday's verdict.
  • Dissident Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years in prison, his lawyer said
  • Liu had faced charge of inciting subversion of state power, according to PEN American Center
  • Liu was also arrested in 1989 for his role in the Tiananmen Square protest
  • U.S. government has pressed for Liu's release

Beijing, China (CNN) -- Prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was arrested in 1989 for his role in the Tiananmen Square protest, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in a separate subversion case, his lawyer said Friday.

Attorney Shang Baojun said that Liu's political rights would be suspended for two years under the sentence. Shang said he was disappointed with the verdict and felt the sentence was harsher than he had expected.

As for an appeal, Shang said he had not yet discussed the idea with his client.

Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said she attended the court session Friday and saw her husband for the first time since March. She told CNN Wednesday that police prevented her from leaving their home during the one-day trial.

Riding in a police vehicle as she spoke, Liu Xia said it was "inconvenient" to make further comments.

Liu Xiaobo, a former university lecturer and literary critic, faced a possible 15-year jail sentence, amid growing international outrage over his year-long detention, according to media reports.

Video: Chinese dissident awaits fate

Liu, 53, was detained on December 8, 2008, and held under "residential surveillance" as police investigated the case, according to the PEN American Center, a U.S. literary and human rights organization. On June 23 of this year, he was arrested and charged with inciting subversion of state power, the organization said. Liu is on the PEN board of directors.

The case was turned over to the prosecutor's office December 8 -- one year from the time Liu was detained.

Liu co-authored Charter 08, "a declaration calling for political reform, greater human rights, and an end to one-party rule in China that has been signed by hundreds of individuals from all walks of life throughout the country," PEN says on its Web site. The group said Liu was arrested before the formal release of Charter 08.

"Liu has been engaged in agitation activities, such as spreading of rumors and defaming of the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years," according to a police statement reported by China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

  • In-depth:  China
  • The statement claimed Liu confessed to the charge during a preliminary police investigation.

    Liu served as an adviser to student leaders during the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Along with three other intellectuals, he took part in hunger strikes there on June 2 of that year prior to the crackdown to show support for the flagging student protests.

    He was arrested two days after the Tiananmen crackdown and was released in 1991. In May 1995 he was detained again for collecting signatures for a petition calling for human rights guarantees.

    The U.S. government called for Liu's release.

    "The United States was deeply concerned to learn that ... Liu ... was found guilty of 'incitement to subvert state power,'" said Mark Toner, an acting State Department spokesman. "We call on the Government of China to release him immediately and to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully express their political views."

    CNN's John Vause contributed to this report.