updated 11/30/2006 8:53:29 PM ET 2006-12-01T01:53:29

A Chinese high court on Friday rejected the appeal of a New York Times researcher sentenced to three years in prison on a fraud charge, his lawyer said.

The Beijing High Court delivered its judgement for Zhao Yan's appeal in a five-minute session, lawyer Guan Anping said in a telephone interview.

Zhao was convicted of fraud in August but acquitted of the more serious charge of revealing state secrets, which could have resulted in a 10-year sentence.

Zhao, 44, argued in his appeal that the prosecution's evidence did not amount to a criminal charge and that a defense witness was not allowed to testify during the trial.

"I'm very sorry about this outcome," Guan said. "It's unfair to Zhao Yan."

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