CHINA. POLICE URGED TO STOP USING TORTURE TO MAKE PEOPLE CONFESS
May 26, 2005: China's top prosecution office urged police to stop using illegal methods such as torture to force suspects to confess, after a series of high profile miscarriages of justice. Qiu Xueqiang, deputy director of the Supreme People's Procurator, said the use of torture, threats, delusion and lies to collect evidence or extract confessions must be stopped. Only evidence obtained legally can be used, Qiu said. He made the announcement at a national meeting of prosecutors in Beijing.
Although torture had been outlawed in China, human rights groups said it was frequently used in police investigations.
In a recent high profile case, a Chinese man who served 11 years in prison for the murder of his wife was officially declared innocent in April after the victim reappeared. She had run away. The man said police beat a confession out of him.
The case caused a national uproar over miscarriages of justice in China's judicial system, long bemoaned for a lack of due process, an absence of the presumption of innocence and the use of torture to extract confessions.
In the latest case of police abuse to surface, seven policemen in northern China's Tangshan city, Hebei province, were convicted on May 28 of torturing a suspect forced to confess to the beating of a couple in 2002 during a robbery.
Two of the convicted policemen were the director and deputy director of a Tangshan police substation. They were sentenced to two years in prison.
They tortured their victim with electric shocks, slapped him and poured capsicum water and mustard oil into his mouth, the report said.
The man was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by the Tangshan Intermediate People's Court.
The man was only vindicated in 2004 when a higher court overturned the conviction on insufficient evidence and another man later confessed to beating the couple. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 27/05/2005)