On March 18, 2008, the trial began of Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia on charges of inciting subversion of state power. Hu was formally charged in February 2008 after he released letters and recordings alleging that Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng was tortured into confessing to subversion charges. Hu was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on April 3, 2008. A lawyer for Hu said he was denied an appeal because his legal team was not allowed to visit him in prison to discuss the legal proceedings. While in prison, Hu was awarded the Sakharov Priza by the European Parliament for his fight for democracy. Hu was released from prison on June 26, 2011.