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November 18, 2009

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Cops jailed for torture to procure confession

FOUR Chinese policemen have been sentenced to jail terms from one to two years for torturing a confession from a man who later died, a court spokesman said yesterday.

Officers Niu Dongsheng, Xu Songshan, Zhen Weimin and Song Guangzhou were sentenced with reprieves of two or three years each, said the spokesman with Baita District People's Court in Liaoyang City, northeastern China's Liaoning Province.

The four officers from Luohe City, central China's Henan Province, were convicted of administering electric shocks to a man surnamed Zhai, who was suspected of involvement in an illegal pyramid scheme.

They were interrogating Zhai in a Liaoyang hotel in April, the spokesman said.

The officers took Zhai to hospital when he became very pale and short of breath, but he later died.

An investigation by experts from the Shenyang-based China Medical University indicated that Zhai had a coronary heart disease and the electric shocks were not the sole cause of death, the spokesman said.

Baita District People's Procuratorate charged the policemen with extorting a confession by torture.

The four officers had shown remorse for their crime and taken a positive attitude in compensation talks with Zhai's family, the court spokesman said.

"Based on all that, the judges took a lenient attitude in sentencing," he said.

The sentence was handed down on November 3, and the four officers had not lodged appeals within the 10-day period appeal deadline, the spokesman said.


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