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Chinese dissident gets 12 years for contract fraud

BEIJING (AP) – A lawyer says a Chinese court has sentenced dissident poet Li Bifeng to 12 years in prison for contract fraud.

Lawyer Zhao Jianwei says that Li was sentenced Monday at Shehong County Court in southwestern Sichuan province. Li was formerly imprisoned for five years for involvement in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement.

Exiled dissident Liao Yiwu says Li was targeted because he was suspected of helping Liao flee the country last year _ suspicions Liao says are false. Liao launched an international appeal from Germany for Li’s release.

Zhao says Li will appeal because the verdict “was not based on the facts and the prosecutors and the court violated procedural laws and regulations.”

A court official confirmed Li’s hearing had taken place, but didn’t have details.

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