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A verdict on the trial of China’s most prominent dissident will be reached on Christmas day following a hearing which lasted just two hours. “Liu Xiaobo pleaded not guilty to charges of subversion at the Beijing Number One People’s Intermediate Court this morning. His lawyer Shang Baojun told The Times he was unable to say anything more until after sentencing. Mr Liu's wife, Liu Xia, and foreign diplomats were banned from proceedings although his brother-in-law Liu Hui was allowed in to court. Liu Hui said the prosecution did not say what sort of jail term they wanted if Liu Xiaobo is found guilty on Friday. It was the first time that Liu Xiaobo, 53, has faced the full force of the legal system during two decades of activism distinguished by his bold calls for democracy and greater freedom of speech. Mrs Liu, an artist, voiced despair about the likely outcome. She said: ‘I have no hope whatsoever. I can’t even attend the trial.’”
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