Beijing – Rights group, Amnesty International on Thursday said that China’s criminal justice system was still heavily reliant on forced confessions obtained through torture.
A report by the London-based group included testimonies from former detainees who described being kept during pre-trial detention in iron restraint chairs, long periods of sleep deprivation and being denied food and water.
Human rights lawyers from across China told of the ill-treatment they received at the hands of police.
Tang Jitian, a former lawyer in Beijing, said he was tortured by security officials in March 2014, after he and three others tried to investigate an alleged secret detention facility in north-eastern China.
“I was strapped to an iron chair, slapped in the face, kicked on my legs and hit so hard over the head with a plastic bottle filled with water that I passed out,’’ the report quoted him as saying.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Amnesty, who quoted official court documents, said that out of 590 court cases which included allegations of torture, only in 16 was evidence thrown out because of forced confessions.
The figures supported claims that forced confessions continue to be presented as evidence in court, Amnesty said.
“In a system where even lawyers can end up being tortured by the police, what hope can ordinary defendants have?” said Amnesty’s China researcher Patrick Poon.
Similarly, Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, in a statement, said that since January, Beijing had overseen a massive crackdown on human rights lawyers, with nearly 300 lawyers and associates detained or questioned by police.
Meanwhile, the UN Anti-torture Committee is set to review China’s performance under the Convention Against Torture next week as Amnesty said the definition of torture under Chinese law contravenes international law as it only prohibits certain acts of torture.
A report published in May from Human Rights Watch produced similar findings as Amnesty, where it stressed that only 23 out 158,000 cases were recently made public , with evidence thrown out based on torture claims. (dpa/NAN)