|Liu Han (L) sits in the courtroom at the intermediate people's court of Xianning City, central China's Hubei Province, July 14, 2014. The Hubei Higher People's Court on Monday heard the appeal of former mining tycoon Liu Han at the intermediate people's court of Xianning City. Liu and his brother Liu Wei were sentenced to death in May this year for organizing and leading a criminal organization as well as murder. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
XIANNING, Hubei, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Courts in central China's Hubei Province on Monday heard the appeals of former mining tycoon Liu Han and his brother, Liu Wei, who were sentenced to death after their first trial.
Liu Han, Liu Wei and 34 other defendants were convicted of organizing, leading or participating in a mafia-style gang as well as murder in May.
Three other members were sentenced to death, five were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, four to life imprisonment and 22 to imprisonment of different terms.
The Liu brothers' second trials were conducted by the Hubei Higher People's Court at two different local courts.
In the Liu Han case, Liu and another eight defendants and their lawyers stated the reasons for the appeal, raising objections to the conviction of organizing and leading a gang, intentional homicide and illegal business. They asked the court to reconsider the original sentences and assess whether they had made voluntary confessions or contributions to the investigation, which may help relieve the penalties.
In the Liu Wei case, Liu Wei and another four also appealed the conviction of organizing and leading a gang, intentional homicide and illegal detention.
The Hubei Higher People's Court carried out a court investigation.
The 36 defendants were prosecuted in seven trials, the last of which ended on April 19. It was the largest criminal group of its kind to go on trial in China in recent years.
Defendants in five of the seven trials appealed, but only the Liu brothers' appeal was heard in public. Another three of the appeal cases are not necessarily subject to public hearing according to law, the courts said.
Liu Han was board chairman of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private enterprise in southwest China's Sichuan Province. He owned subsidiary companies involved in electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities.
The organization led by the Liu brothers was identified as a criminal organization in the first trial as it had an established hierarchy and regular members and profited from criminal activities.
The organization, which was harbored and indulged by government officials, illegally monopolized the gaming business in Guanghan City in Sichuan, tyrannized local people and seriously harmed the local economic and social order, according to court verdicts after the first trial. (To stay up to date with the latest China news, follow XHNews on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XHNews and Xinhua News Agency on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency.)