Blind activist Chen Guangcheng has appealed against his conviction for intentionally damaging property and organising a mob to disrupt traffic, with his lawyer citing unlawful trial procedures. The Linyi Intermediate People's Court in Shandong was expected to receive notice of the appeal today and a hearing would be held within a month if it was accepted, said Li Jingsong , one of Chen's lawyers. Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in jail on August 24 by a court in Yinan, which is administered by Linyi city. His family has denounced the verdict, saying the activist was under house arrest at the time of the riot. Chen, 35, had been under house arrest since August last year after releasing a report on the brutal measures adopted by Linyi authorities to enforce the one-child policy, including forced late-stage abortions. The verdict was handed down a week after the Yinan court tried Chen in the absence of three members of his defence team. His original lawyer, Xu Zhiyong , was prevented from representing Chen when he was detained over theft allegations on the eve of the trial. Two local lawyers who had not met Chen or been involved in the case were appointed to represent him despite his objections. At issue in Chen's appeal was the use of coercion to obtain distorted evidence from witnesses, according to another defence lawyer, Li Fangping . 'What the court did was unlawful. They shouldn't have replaced Chen's defence lawyer without his consent,' he said. Li Jingsong said Chen had initially refused to appeal because he was angry about the handling of his trial. 'In the end he agreed to appeal and demands to be represented by lawyers from Beijing,' he said. More than 100 members of human rights and religious bodies from over 30 countries sent a letter to President Hu Jintao last week protesting against the treatment and trial of Chen.