Lawmakers eye illegal evidence collection

Updated: 2011-12-28 06:46


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BEIJING - Chinese lawmakers on Tuesday continued to read a draft amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law, suggesting more detailed stipulations to stem illegal collection of evidence.

The draft was submitted Monday to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's top legislature, for the second reading. It included many revisions based on suggestions offered by lawmakers and the general public.

According to the draft, authorities may record or videotape the questioning of criminal suspects, and the process of interrogating suspects who may face life or death sentences, or those with felony charges, must be recorded or videotaped.

Lawmaker Nan Zhenzhong suggested to make video recording mandatory for all cases, as these records are an important means to prove whether evidence has been gathered illegally.

Other lawmakers proposed to give a clear definition on "taping throughout the interrogation process", fearing that suspects might be forced to stay in the room un-monitored before or after the so-called interrogation.

Lawmakers also recommended the draft allow defenders being present during questioning in order to avoid illegal evidence collection and confessions through violent means.

In addition, the draft amendment adds clauses to allow those who suffer from serious diseases, and are not able to take care of themselves, pregnant, or caring for infants, to be released on bail or live at home under surveillance.

Lawmakers suggested to make "release on bail" and "under home surveillance" a right for all such suspects rather than a choice made by prosecutors or courts.

The Criminal Procedural Law, adopted in 1979, was revised once in 1996 by the NPC Standing Committee.