On Tuesday, Beijing court sentenced house church leader Pastor Cai Zhuohua to three years in prison for illegally printing Bibles and Christian literatures.
The presiding judge announced the verdict at 9am in the morning. Pastor Cai's wife Xiao Yunfei and her brother Xiao Gaowen were sentenced to two years and one and a half years in prison respectively. Xiao Gaowen's wife Hu Jinyun is exempted and is expected to be released once her lawyer finishes her legal papers.
Cai's lawyers plan to appeal the case to Beijing intermediate Court to reverse the trial verdict.
Cai, his wife, and two of his wife's relatives were arrested September of last year for conducting illegal business practices. The charge was directed toward the thousands of Bibles and Christian literatures printed found in Cai's home. The arrest became the center of international attention for various human rights and persecution watch organizations.
The first hearing took place in July, but the announcement of the verdict was delayed twice for mishandling of legal papers by the court.
The announcement of the verdict coincides with President Bush's coming visit to China. Persecution watch organizations, such as Christian Aid Association, are urging Bush to address the trial during his visit.