A court in Beijing has rejected an appeal by the 17-year-old son of a prominent military artist against a 10-year sentence for participating in a gang rape of a woman, a high-profile criminal case that has attracted intense media attention and widespread condemnation for most of the year.
Beijing's First Intermediate People's Court announced its decision in a weibo post on Wednesday.
It thus upheld the sentence handed down by the Haidian District People’s Court in September against the 17-year-old, Li Guanfeng, the son of well-known military artists Li Shuangjiang and Meng Ge for the rape committed in February.
Li, also known as Li Tianyi, was among five defendants sentenced to jail by the Haidian court. Another defendant surnamed Wang, the only one of them who was an adult when the crime was committed in February this year, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crime. The other three had received jail sentences of between three and four years.
The Haidian court had said it had taken Li's age into account in sentencing him, but determined he led the attack and was the first to rape the girl. He denied the charges.
Ahead of the appeal trial, Li's new defence lawyer Zhang Qihuai told the Beijing Times that the defence had prepared a video for the hearing last week, explaining the events on the day in question in February that led to the rape of a part-time student in a Beijing hotel room.
The teenager first gained national notoriety In September 2011, when he attacked a couple after his unlicensed BMW crashed into their car and they tried to stop him from fleeing the scene. That assault landed him in a juvenile correctional facility for a year.