CHINA OVERTURNS 10 PERCENT OF DEATH SENTENCES
November 26, 2010: China has overturned 10 percent of death sentences handed down in the country since the top court began reviewing them in 2007 in a bid to limit use of capital punishment, an official has said.
Most of the reversals were made due to insufficient evidence, procedural flaws, or because the penalty was too harsh, Hu Yunteng, head of research for the Supreme People's Court, was quoted saying by China Daily.
China is believed by rights groups to execute more people than the rest of the world combined, and it gave the top court final review powers in 2007 amid concerns some death sentences were unwarranted.
"We must make sure the use of the death sentence is accurate and free of mistakes to respect and protect the convicts and their rights," Hu said.
"The Supreme People's Court will not tolerate any mistakes regarding evidence or procedure and will thoroughly investigate questionable judgements."
Hu said the supreme court had overturned "on average" 10 percent of death sentences, according to the report, which provided no further explanation.
Most executions are carried out for violent crimes such as murder and robbery, the report said, but drug trafficking and some corruption cases also are punishable by death.
Hu declined to say how many people were executed each year, the report said. The figure is treated as a state secret in China. (Sources: Afp, 26/11/2010)