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Authorities take aim at torture of suspects
20/1/2006 15:19

Attorneys will dispatch technicians to record interrogation interviews of people suspected of job-related crimes to ensure confessions are not extracted by torture. The policy takes effect on March 1.
Wang zhenchuan, vice procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, announced the new policy at an ongoing national meeting on job-related crimes in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province.
He also said that as of October 1, 2007, attorneys will make real-time videos of interrogations concerning job-related crimes including graft and dereliction of duty.
"Recording interrogations will help prevent violations of the law, ensure the accuracy of evidence and prevent criminal suspects from revoking confessions or bringing false charges against interrogators," Wang said. "New clues may also be found by repeatedly watching the videotapes."
Investigating job-related crimes such as graft and dereliction of duty is one of the key functions of prosecuting bodies and an important part of the country's fight against corruption. Ensuring objective interrogations will also help fight corruption, Wang said.
He stressed that interrogations should be recorded live and in whole. No detail should be skipped. No one should edit videotape materials without authorization. Recording and videotape materials should be kept confidential.
Technicians or attorneys who take responsibility for recording or videoing will be forbidden to have dealings with interrogators. If illegal editing of a video or audio file is discovered, the attorneys concerned will be referred to a disciplinary hearing.
Li guifang, vice director of the Criminal Committee of the All-China Lawyers Association, said recording or videotaping interrogations concerning job-related crimes can prevent the abuse of power by interrogators.
The phenomenon of policemen extorting confessions from criminal suspects by torture has been repeatedly exposed and reported by Chinese media in recent years, leading to a public outcry.