Case against Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo sent to prosecutors
  Tania Branigan in Beijing and agencies,  

Liu's lawyer says investigators claim author incited subversion, which carries a maximum 15-year jail term

Chinese police have presented the case against one of the country's most prominent dissidents to prosecutors, after detaining him for a year.

Liu Xiaobo's lawyer Shang Baojun said the investigators' report alleged that the author incited the subversion of state power through articles he published on the internet and by helping to write Charter 08, an appeal for democratic reforms and greater civil liberties.

His wife Liu Xia said she learned that police had finished their report last night – exactly one year after officers took her husband from their home. He was formally arrested six months later.

Earlier this week she said she was losing hope that he would be released and feared he could face more than a decade in prison. Inciting subversion carries a maximum jail term of 15 years.

The 53-year-old's case has drawn protests from western politicians and international authors.

"If the procuratorate concludes that the public security agency has clearly established a case backed by evidence, then it can decide to initiate a prosecution in court," said Mo Shaoping, another of Liu's lawyers.

Over the next month and half, prosecutors also have the options of ordering additional investigations or throwing out the case, said Mo.

But Phelim Kine, Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: "The sad fact is by the time it does get to this point, it takes on a momentum of its own and [probably] will unfortunately head to court.

"There have been entreaties from the highest level and the Chinese government has been resistant to them all, apparently. It underlines an increasing intolerance of perceived dissent in China – particularly [if] questioning the Communist party's monopoly on power."

Liu, a literary critic and former academic, spent 20 months in jail after joining the Tiananmen Square pro-reform protests in 1989. He was also sent to a re-education through labour camp in the 1990s.