Jailed China dairy boss appeals life sentence: state media

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 01 2009 09:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2009 05:12 AM

BEIJING - The former boss of the dairy firm at the heart of China's contaminated milk scandal Sunday formally appealed a court decision to jail her for life, her lawyer told the official Xinhua news agency.

A court last month convicted former Sanlu Group chief Tian Wenhua, 66, of "manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products" in connection with the scandal, which led to at least six deaths and left nearly 300,000 children ill.

Tian's lawyer Liang Zikan said her appeal was based on a lack of evidence presented at trial, Xinhua reported.

Sanlu was the first and biggest dairy producer found to have sold dairy products laced with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, which was mixed into watered-down milk to give the appearance of higher protein levels.

Tian was among three people jailed for life over the scandal, which also led to recalls of Chinese dairy products around the world.

Two men were given the death penalty after being found guilty of endangering public security by adding the melamine into the milk and then selling it on to middlemen.

One other person was given a suspended death penalty, a sentence that routinely gets commuted to life in jail, while others were imprisoned for terms ranging from two to 15 years.