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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chinese court sentences US geologist to 8 years

By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer – 6 mins ago
BEIJING – An American geologist detained and tortured by China's state security agents over an oil industry database was jailed for eight years Monday in a troubling example of China's rough justice system and the way the U.S. government handles cases against its citizens.
Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court convicted Xue Feng of collecting intelligence for overseas and illegally providing state secrets.
Xue's lawyer Tong Wei described the sentence as "very heavy." Xue was also fined 200,000 yuan ($30,000).
Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to China, was inside the court. He did not speak after the verdict, but the U.S. Embassy in Beijing released a statement saying it was "dismayed" and urged China to grant Xue "humanitarian release and immediately deport him."
Xue was sentenced with three Chinese nationals, who were charged with illegally providing intelligence abroad. Li Yongbo was sentenced to 6 years in jail and fined 200,000 yuan, and Chen Mengjin and Li Dongxu were given sentences of two and a half years and fined 50,000 yuan ($7,500) each.
For Xue, the verdict comes more than six months since the last court hearing and two and a half years after he was detained — a protracted prosecution and pretrial detention that Chinese officials never explained.

Read More: http://yhoo.it/bDjyXP

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