Missing Chinese lawyer charged for subversion

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Beijing, Mar. 16 (ANI): Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has confirmed that missing lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been sentenced to prison on subversion charges.

While Yang didn't reveal the charges against Gao or the length of his sentence, he denied allegations that Gao, who has been missing for more than a year,was tortured by the authorities.

"Gao Zhisheng has been sentenced for committing the crime of subverting state power," the Daily Express quoted Yang, as saying.

Responding to a question at a joint news conference with visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Yang said: "His relevant rights based on this law have been protected, so the question of torture does not exist," Yang said.

It was not immediately clear if Yang was referring to a new case or to a sentence Gao received in 2006.

The government had previously provided no solid information about his status or whereabouts.

Subversion is often used against critics of the Communist Party in China. It can carry sentences of more than 10 years.

Gao was known for taking on sensitive cases. He defended prominent government opponents, members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group and followers of Christian groups and had been arrested several times previously.

His case had drawn international attention for the unusual length of his disappearance and for his earlier reports of the torture he endured. (ANI)

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