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Chinese Court Reduces Activist's Prison Sentence

In this photo taken on June 30, 2010, Ni Yulan sits on the bed in a hotel in Beijing.
The lawyer for a disabled Chinese activist imprisoned earlier this year says an appeals court has thrown out a fraud conviction against her, but rejected her appeal against a conviction for causing a disturbance.

Attorney Cheng Hai said Friday that the court reduced the sentence of Ni Yulan by two months, but she will still serve 30 months in prison on the second charge. He said the court also rejected an appeal from Ni's husband, Dong Jiquin, who was imprisoned for two years on similar charges.

Ni and Dong deny the charges. Their supporters say they were targeted in order to silence their criticism of the government.

The two are known for providing legal assistance to residents facing forced evictions from their homes without adequate compensation.

The two were arrested in April of 2011 as part of a wider crackdown on political dissent, following anonymous online calls for protests in China after a series of uprisings in Arab countries.

Ni was also jailed in 2002 and 2008 for "obstructing official business" and "harming public property" after fighting against the government acquisition of her home in Beijing. She says she was tortured while in prison and is now wheelchair-bound.