US urges China to free Nobel dissident's wife

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is calling for China to release the wife of imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo (lee-OO' show-BOH') from house arrest.

Liu Xia made rare appearance Tuesday, leaving the Beijing apartment where she has been held for 2 1/2 years to attend her brother's trial. She shouted to onlookers: "I'm not free."

In Washington on Wednesday, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters that the U.S. remains deeply concerned that Liu Xia is under an "extra-legal house arrest."

He said the U.S. is closely monitoring the trial.

The brother is facing fraud charges that his lawyers said are trumped up to punish the family.

Ventrell reiterated Washington's call for the release of Liu Xiaobo, who was jailed in late 2008 for authoring and disseminating a program for political reform.

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