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China jails three over 'rape case' investigations

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Three men have been jailed in China's Fujian province after posting material online on behalf of a woman trying to investigate her daughter's death.

Fan Yanqiong, Wu Huaying and You Jingyou were found guilty of slander and harming state interests, in a trial which attracted protests outside court.

They had posted videos online in which the woman said her daughter died after being raped by thugs linked to police.

The police had said the woman died due to complications with a pregnancy.

Fan was given a two-year jail term while Wu and You received one year each at the trial in Fuzhou city, said their lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan.

'Laughable'

Mr Liu said the three men had been helping Lin Xiuying to put pressure on the authorities to reopen the investigation into her daughter's death in 2008.

Ms Lin had accused the police of protecting a criminal gang she believed had gang-raped her daughter.

It was not clear who the three were accused of slandering.

"The court said the three people's actions have seriously affected the interest of the state, which is laughable," said Mr Liu.

"It infringes on the people's freedom of speech, which is the legal right of citizens," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Hundreds of internet users from across China had travelled to Fuzhou to show their support for the activists.

Witnesses said they waved banners and sang songs, while many also blogged from the scene or sent messages through the Twitter micro-blogging site.

China has some 400 million internet users but online material is heavily censored for political and moral content.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
New York Times China Starts New Bureau to Police Web Traffic - 36 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Three jailed in China over internet campaign for justice - 45 hrs ago
Washington PostChina jails 3 online activists; many show support - 46 hrs ago
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