A Chinese court on Friday upheld an 11-year prison sentence handed to the brother-in-law of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, a lawyer said.

Police had detained Liu Hui in January on suspicion of committing fraud in connection with a real-estate deal.

"The sentence was upheld, and we continue to believe this is unfair," Mo Shaoping, one of Liu Hui's attorneys, told AFP.

Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese political activist, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for "subversion" after he circulated a charter calling for democratic reforms. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

His wife, Liu Xia, left home after years under house arrest in April to attend the opening trial session for Liu Hui, her brother.

She also attended the sentencing in June, but did not attend the appeal, with some reports claiming she was unwell.

Mo had said in June that Liu Xia believed the charges against her brother were "political persecution".

An official who answered the phone at Beijing's Huairou District People's Court on Friday could not immediately confirm the decision to uphold the sentence.

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