The Swiss foreign ministry says it’s “very concerned” about the situation of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, sentenced by the Beijing authorities to 11 years in prison.
Switzerland has joined a host of other countries in condemning the sentence which was handed down for Liu’s part in organising a petition demanding political freedoms.
The Swiss foreign ministry said that it regretted that requests by diplomats to attend the hearing and the sentence were denied.
Liu’s crime was to publish six articles on the internet, including on the BBC’s Chinese service, and organise the Charter 08, a petition inspired by the Charter 77 dissident movement in communist Czechoslovakia. About 10,000 people have signed it
Among the demands of Charter 08 was the abolition of the law on subversion. The petition read: “We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.”
The human rights group Amnesty International has also condemned the sentence, saying freedom of speech was at stake.
swissinfo.ch and agencies