Opinion / Opinion Line

Which department manages detention centers is the question

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-13 08:07

Which department manages detention centers is the question

A detention center in Yuncheng city, Shanxi province, Feb 18, 2015. [Photo/IC]

At a recent conference to review the draft law on detention centers, which was organized by the China Law Society at the request of the State Council, experts fiercely debated whether detention centers should remain under the control of the police. Many law experts advocated putting them under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice to prevent police from abusing their powers. Comments:

Besides preventing torture for confessions and better protecting the rights of detainees, separating detention houses from police control will protect the legal rights of police officers, too, because they will no longer have the opportunities for committing serious wrongs. The recent incidents of several police officers being punished for torturing detainees will hopefully never be repeated.

Southern Metropolis Daily, April 11

Thanks to efforts of the higher police authorities, the chaotic situation that used to exist in detention houses has been curbed a little. However, as long as the police continue enjoy the right to interrogate suspects without external supervision, the scandals of confessions obtained through torture won't disappear. The only solution lies in ending the control the police have over detention centers. We hope the new law will do this.

Beijing Times, April 11

It is the bad management and lack of internal supervision in detention houses that has resulted in such wrongs as torturing suspects to obtain confessions. Reforms over the past five years have successfully addressed the majority of problems that existed, proving that better management can improve the situation without changing the department that governs detention houses. Besides, the law needs to remain stable and any decision for change should be made only after cautious considerations.

Chen Weidong, a professor of law at Peking University, April 11

Which department should govern detention houses? The question is more about procedural justice, while the key problem lies in redefining detention houses as a place where suspects get their liberty restricted and face fair inquiries, but still enjoy the right to meet their lawyers. That should be the focus of the new law.

Li Wanming, a lawyer on criminal lawsuits, via Sina micro blog, April 12

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