Liu Xiaobo

Wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo to petition for retrial

Liu Xia asks lawyers to file petition for retrial of husband's case and suit over her house arrest

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 4:02am

The wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo wants her lawyers to challenge authorities for placing her under house arrest and seek a retrial of her husband's case.

Beijing lawyers Mo Shaoping and Shang Baojun said yesterday Liu Xia had authorised them to prepare a legal petition that her husband's case be reopened and heard in court.

Shang said Liu Xia also intended to sue Beijing's police for illegally keeping her under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year prison sentence on subversion charges brought after he co-authored a bold call for sweeping changes to Beijing's one-party communist political system.

Her brother, Liu Hui , has already filed an appeal against the 11-year prison sentence handed down to him this month for fraud in a real-estate dispute that the family's supporters say is meant as further punishment of the Nobel laureate's family, and intended to intimidate other political activists.

Shang said Liu Xia's decision to pursue legal action was driven by her frustration over the way authorities have treated her family, and that her brother's conviction in particular made her feel like she could no longer be silent. "Her biggest worry at the moment is her brother. She feels guilty for causing such huge trouble and negative influence to his family," Shang said. "She says she would do anything to alleviate her brother's suffering."

The move marks the latest extraordinary step taken by Liu Xia to protest against the alleged persecution of her family. A week ago, her lawyers released an open letter she wrote to President Xi Jinping to protest against her brother's sentence.

Since her house arrest, under close watch by guards at her building and cut off from communicating with most of the outside world, Liu Xia has had few opportunities to express herself. She initially feared further retaliation if she chose to speak out.

Liu Xia was permitted a rare opportunity to leave her flat on Thursday to meet her lawyers.