Monday, September 15, 2014

Tortured into 'confessing' death-row inmate in China freed by court after 6 years..

One person told me sometime back that if they beat him again, he would have confessed even to murder although he was innocent. So, I am not surprised with this case where torture was used... We really have to put an end to torture in police custody.

The other point to note is that even in China, there is video recording - in Hong Kong, all is recorded from the time the suspect is brought to the police station, the interogation/questioning, etc and when he/she is charged in court, the lawyer is given a copy of this CD (maybe now DVD). Malaysia should also have a similar practice - it would be good to prove to everyone that Malaysian police are professional and do not resort to torture, etc 

China court frees man after six years on death row

China court frees man after six years on death row
A Chinese court on Friday declared innocent a man sentenced to death six years ago for a double killing, in a case which highlighted flaws in the country's legal system.

Nian Bin, a former food-stall owner, was convicted of poisoning two children and condemned to die in 2008, and had been held in custody ever since.

His case went through multiple appeals, with lawyers arguing that the evidence against him was insufficient and police had tortured him into confessing, until the high court of Fujian province quashed his conviction Friday and freed him.

Acquittals in China's Communist-controlled court system are extremely rare - 99.93 per cent of defendants were found guilty last year, according to official statistics.

Beijing does not say how many people it executes each year. But independent estimates put the total around 3,000 in 2012, a figure higher than all other countries combined.

The use of force to extract confessions remains widespread in the country, leading to a number of miscarriages of justice.

"None of the evidence presented in the case can be properly verified," the Fujian court said in a microblog post announcing Nian's innocence.

His lawyer Si Weijiang wrote in an online post: "We hope that the reversal of the verdict in this case can allow other unjust verdicts to be overturned.

"His family home has been subject to revenge attacks, his daughter's mental health has suffered, while his wife has waited in pain for six years," he added.

Nian, now 38, told a previous court hearing that police had hung him from a hook and beaten him until he confessed, reports said.

He was first detained by police in 2006, after two children died and four other people fell ill in a family near his home, apparently from consuming rat poison.

The UK-based rights group Amnesty International said in a statement that the quashing of Nian's conviction was "another reminder of the need to immediately end all executions and abolish the death penalty in the country".

"The ever present risk of executing innocent people is just one of many compelling arguments against the death penalty," it added.

China has occasionally exonerated wrongfully executed convicts after others came forward to confess their crimes, or in some cases because the supposed murder victim was later found alive.
- See more at: - AsiaOne, 22/8/2014


Rare acquittal for China murder convict on death row

Police guards stand in a hallway inside the No.1 Detention Center during a government guided tour in Beijing on 25 October 2012. China is believed to execute thousands of prisoners held in jail every year
A man convicted of murdering two children has been acquitted by China's highest court, in a rare move.

The Fujian Supreme Court found there was insufficient evidence that Nian Bin, a grocery shop owner, had poisoned his fellow villagers with rat poison leading to the death of two children.

Mr Nian was on death row for more than six years and repeatedly appealed against his verdict.
Lawyers said he was tortured into confession.

The BBC's John Sudworth says the exact figure is not known, but China is believed to execute thousands of prisoners every year and successful appeals are rare. 

Amnesty International said the case has highlighted "the ever present risk of executing innocent people" with the death penalty and the legal system's flaws.

"China's justice system is deeply flawed and more needs to be done to promptly address the failures of this case, including allegations of torture," said Anu Kultalahti, Amnesty's China researcher.

Mr Nian was accused of poisoning his neighbours in July 2006. Besides the two children who died, four others were injured.

Amnesty said Mr Nian, now aged 38, had made three appeals, undergone a supreme court review and three retrials which had been ordered due to insufficient evidence.

His case attracted prominent lawyers and wide attention in social media, reports the Associated Press.

In a statement sent to the BBC, Mr Nian's defence team said that during the lengthy retrial process, "it was very clear that all the evidence pointed to the fact that our client was not guilty".

They said that a video of Mr Nian's confession was missing at least one hour of footage.

"We hope that the country can address certain problems in our legal punishment processes highlighted by Nian Bin's case," they added. - BBC News, 22/8/2014, Rare acquittal for China murder convict on death row

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