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Video not working for nightmare cell victim

POLICE officers told the family of an inmate who died in a detention house cell that he had died after having a nightmare. Now they say technical problems had meant his death was not recorded by the security video.

Officers of the detention house, in Jiujiang City of Jiangxi Province, yesterday showed part of the cell security video to the family of the inmate Li Wenyan, 50, the Wuhan-based Chutian Metropolis Daily reported today.

When the family asked to see the section showing Li's death, officers said they could not provide that because there was a computer malfunction at that time and there was no recording.

Li, a native of Wuhan City, capital of Hubei Province, died on March 27 in the detention house.

His family said there had been bruising on his forehead. They suspected that either inmates or police had assaulted him and caused his death.

Jiujiang prosecutors have launched an investigation.

Jiujiang police and prosecutors, who organized an autopsy on Li's body, have agreed to another autopsy outside the city.

Li was sent to the detention house on January 24 when he was arrested for stealing electricity cables.

His family in Wuhan did not know he had been arrested until March 30 when the detention house notified them of his death.

Authorities at the detention house said Li was having a nightmare at 1.53am on March 27. When they checked him and discovered he had a weak pulse, they sent him to a hospital where he died.

A medical certificate from the hospital said he had died a sudden death.

As for the bruises on the forehead, Zhu Shigen, the director of the detention house, said inmates often played poker when the police were not watching. The bruises could be where inmates cuffed him as a punishment.

Zhu said the detention house had given Li five medical examinations. The checkups showed Li was healthy.


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