Police official claims torture in trial

Updated: 2012-02-06 08:00

(China Daily)

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NANJING - A police chief in an eastern China county, who stood trial over the weekend in a case of an inmate who died in a suspected forced confession, claimed that he was also tortured while being questioned by local prosecutors.

Chen Jinbing, the former deputy chief of Xiangshui county's public security bureau in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu province, made the claim on Friday, according to the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News.

He was accused of approving the use of force by two of his subordinates to obtain a confession from a theft suspect on June 21, 2011, the newspaper said, citing prosecutors.

The suspect, surnamed Dai, died in a hospital after being beaten and kicked during the interrogation that day, according to prosecutors.

The county public security bureau's autopsy found bruises on Dai's arms, wrists and legs and concluded they had been caused by external force, the report said.

Chen immediately reported the victim's death to the bureau and early on June 22, the bureau held a meeting to discuss it.

After the meeting, Chen negotiated with Dai's relatives, who demanded compensation of 2 million yuan ($317,000). Dai's wife signed a document that asked for an immediate cremation of the body after receiving 1.78 million yuan, prosecutors charged.

Though two other chiefs and a forensic pathologist from the county public security bureau opposed the cremation, which they said was intended to destroy the evidence of torture during interrogation, the cremation went ahead at Chen's insistence, the Yangcheng Evening News quoted prosecutors as saying.

No verdict was reached on Friday.

The two policemen involved in the alleged torture were sentenced to jail terms of one and two years respectively, after a separate trial.

"For many reasons, forced confessions still exist in some areas in China," said Fan Chongyi, a criminal law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law.

"For some police officers, it is convenient to obtain confessions by torture, to solve cases quickly."

In court, Chen also accused staff from the local procuratorate of beating his legs with chairs during questioning. He wasn't allowed to rest for a long time, and his thumb was injured, the report said.

He also insisted that some prosecutors pressed him to make a confession, saying that the result would not be serious if he cooperated.

Chen denied most of the allegations, including the negotiations with the victim's relatives.

The local procuratorate said that videos of Chen's interrogation would be provided to the court, according to the report.

Fan said the draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law, which was submitted to the top legislature in August 2011 for review, reiterates that evidence acquired by the use of force should not be accepted.

"To eliminate interrogation torture, it also orders that the entire interrogation process must be recorded to prove that no torture was used," Fan said.