China cop loses appeal in torture amputation case

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BEIJING, Nov 15 (Reuters) A Beijing court has upheld a 10-year jail sentence for a deputy police chief whose violent interrogations resulted in a robbery suspect having his arm amputated, local media reported today.

Wang Yujun, deputy head of Hongxing police station in Beijing's Daxing district, was found guilty in January of ''deliberately injuring'' suspect Zhang Jianshe during questioning in 2000.

Zhang, who sued Wang in 2001, told the court that a police officer at Hongxing station had beaten him with a rubber police truncheon and a pool cue while in custody.

''When he asked to drink some water, Wang Yujun poured a glass of hot water on his arm,'' the Beijing News said.

Police took Zhang to a local hospital where doctors found the flesh on his right forearm had ''died.'' Doctors amputated Zhang's arm and a finger on his left hand, the paper said.

At his appeal, Wang said he had never interrogated Zhang, citing a hand-written statement from the suspect that only referred to ''a tall and fat man'' during interrogations.

But the court rejected the appeal, finding that Wang had used ''violence to extract an oral confession from the suspect, causing heavy injury and grave disability'', the paper said.

China has come under pressure from rights groups and local media to crack down on forced confessions and torture after several infamous cases in recent years.

In March, the government released new rules in an effort to stop police torturing suspects, and interrogations for serious crimes are supposed to be recorded or videotaped, though police have admitted difficulty enforcing the practice in rural areas.

A top prosecutor last November said about 30 people were found to be wrongfully convicted each year through forced confessions, but the real number may be much higher.

REUTERS JT ND1020

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