September 11, 2008 / 2:17 AM / 11 years ago

Rights group calls on China to end torture

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is not doing enough to end torture by police and in jails where the practice is still widespread, a human rights group said a in new report. Human Rights in China said there was “ample evidence” of torture being used to extract confessions and as a tool of political repression.

It highlighted the case of rights activist Guo Feixiong, sentenced to five years in prison in 2007 on the pretext of illegal business activities, who his wife said was convicted on the basis of a confession extracted through torture.

“During his detention, he was interrogated round-the-clock for 13 days, tied down to a wooden bed for 42 days with his arms and legs shackled, and hung from the ceiling by his arms while the police electrocuted his genitals with a high-voltage baton,” the group said.

China has vowed to stamp out torture in its judicial system, described as widespread by some critics, in the face of international and domestic pressure.

“Many criminal suspects in China, as well as those who seek to defend the rights of others and speak out against injustice — lawyers, environmental activists, petitioners — have become victims of torture,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China.

“In failing to honor its obligation under international and Chinese law to prevent the use of torture to extract confessions, the Chinese government violates the rights of its citizens and undermines its professed commitment to the rule-of-law,” she added.

Chinese state media occasionally publicizes cases where torture has been used by law enforcement officials.

In July, a Chinese court jailed a former anti-graft prosecutor for life for torturing a suspect to death, while his superior was sentenced to seven years in prison for trying to cover up the case.

Last year, a Beijing has upheld a 10-year jail sentence for a deputy police chief whose violent interrogations resulted in a robbery suspect having his arm amputated.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

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