China to overturn death sentences if evidence obtained through torture

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Beijing, Jan 10 (ANI): China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) would reportedly overturn death sentences in cases where evidence was collected by illegal means in a bid to limit applications for capital punishment and pressurise local courts to check evidences more strictly.

The China Daily quoted SPC Vice-President Zhang Jun as saying that the court would ask for a supplementary investigation or other evidence to be submitted in case any evidence had been obtained through illegal means.

"But starting this year, such cases will be directly rejected, and this will put more pressure on local courts and other judicial organs," he added.

He also said that the existing rules, which state that evidence collected through illegal means should be excluded from court deliberations, were not well implemented.

"Forced confessions do exist in reality and lawyers sometimes state in court that torture has been used to get a confession, but very rarely do the courts determine that forced confessions exist. However, almost all the wrong cases that have been exposed are related to forced confessions, such as the case of Zhao Zuohai," Jun said.

Zhao, a villager from Henan province, was behind bars for 11 years until the man he allegedly murdered turned up alive on April 30 last year. Zhao later said he was tortured by police, who forced him to confess to the "crime".

Zhang reminded defense lawyers on Saturday to pay more attention to the validity of evidence, as the two regulations clearly stipulate that illegal evidence cannot be submitted. (ANI)

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