Monday, November 20, 2006

China official admits to torture


A senior Chinese official has made a rare admission about the extent of the use of torture in getting convictions in China's courts.
Wang Zhenchuan, Deputy Procurator General, said at least 30 wrong verdicts were handed down each year because torture had been used.

Mr Wang said the real number could be higher, according to state media.

Confidence in China's justice system has been seriously undermined by recent high-profile wrongful convictions.

A butcher executed for murder in 1989 was proved innocent when his alleged victim was found alive, while a man was freed after 11 years in jail when his wife, whom he was accused of killing, was also found alive.

Mr Wang's unusually frank comments appeared to be part of a campaign to tackle problems in the judicial system, and shore up public trust.

He said suspects' rights needed to be protected by stopping the use of illegal interrogations involving the use of torture.

He said illegal interrogation existed to "some extent" in local judicial practice.

"Nearly every wrongful verdict in recent years is involved in illegal interrogation," he said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.....

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