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Family in plea for a second autopsy

THE family of a teenage boy who died during police interrogation in Shaanxi Province have demanded a second autopsy.

They refused to accept local officials' conclusion that the boy was killed by a heart attack induced by fatigue and physical trauma, the Yangcheng Evening News reported yesterday.

Relatives of Xu Gengrong, a 19-year-old student in Danfeng County in the northwestern province, said Xu had never been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart disease claimed as the reason for death in a report by the county prosecutors office.

The teenager's parents refused to sign the autopsy report. They said Xu, who was good at sports activities and in perfect health, could not have been killed by a heart disease that never existed.

Seeking the truth

"I have not even received medical records from the hospital where he was treated before he died," Cao Huiling, Xu's mother, told Xinhua news agency.

"They can't make fools of us by simply coming up with some nonsense. I will not agree with the results and the family will not stop seeking the truth."

Xu, a senior student, was taken in for questioning by police on February 28 as the chief suspect in the murder of Peng Lina, a junior female student at Xu's school. He died on March 8 after interrogation at the Danfeng County Public Security Bureau.

Xu's family claimed he had been beaten to death as there were bruises on his body and blood in his nose.

Ji Junying, chief procurator of the county prosecutors office, said in the report that police officers questioned Xu for long periods without a break from March 1 to March 8 and "a few police officers" had beaten him during the interrogation. This, he said, led to extreme exhaustion, which in turn contributed to Xu's death.

Police sent him to hospital, but he died after emergency treatment.

Seven officers are under investigation for dereliction of duty, abuse of power and extortion of confession by torture. They include Yan Yaofeng, head of the county police bureau, Wang Qingbao, a senior officer in charge of disciplinary inspection at the bureau, and Sun Peng, head of the criminal police team.

Yan was suspended because he had "unshirkable responsibility" in Xu's death, authorities said.


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