China sentences 10 to prison for detaining petitioners who sought redress in Beijing

Chinese state media say a Beijing court has sentenced 10 people to prison for illegally detaining petitioners. It's an apparent blow for attempts by local governments to cover up abuses.

The 10 had detained petitioners from central Henan province who traveled to the capital hoping to bring their complaints to the central government. Such petitioners are frequently intercepted by local government agents and detained illegally in shabby hostels known as "black jails."

The official Xinhua News Agency said on its microblog that the defendants were sentenced Tuesday to sentences ranging from two years to six months.

Xinhua says the defendants rounded up 11 petitioners and illegally detained them in two courtyards in Beijing for several days. The court said this was a violation of citizens' personal rights.