Another reason to question whether the government torturing people works…

Posted: May 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

Convicted killer released from 10 years in China jail after alleged victim returns to village.

BEIJING (AP) ā€” A man imprisoned nearly 10 years for murder was freed after his alleged victim turned up alive, a case that raises concerns about police using torture to extract confessions.

The Higher People’s Court in the central province of Henan pronounced Zhao Zuohai, 57, innocent, after the man he was accused of killing, Zhao Zhenshang, returned to their village April 30, the China Daily newspaper reported Monday.

An investigation was under way into the conviction, and Zhao Zuohai will receive about $45,000 in compensation for his wrongful imprisonment, the newspaper reported.

The incident raises concerns about police torture, which Zhao Zuohai’s relatives say was used to force him to confess even though he was innocent. Torture is believed to be used widely by police and government officials who rely heavily on coerced confessions to prove criminal cases.

In 1997, Zhao Zhenshang, now 58, disappeared after having an argument with Zhao Zuohai, the report said, citing court documents. The two men are not related.

Zhao Zuohai was arrested in 1999 after a headless body believed to be Zhao Zhenshang was found, the China Daily said. After he went to prison, Zhao Zuohai’s wife remarried and her new husband adopted his children.

Zhao Zuohai’s relatives say he has scars after being tortured by police into confessing, the China Daily reported.

Calls to the Henan Higher People’s Court rang unanswered Monday.

China has taken gradual steps to address particular instances of torture. Last year, Beijing pledged to clamp down on inmate abuse, and nearly 1,800 policemen were suspended, according to a report released on the Ministry of Public Security website.

China has also released guidelines that identify specific acts of torture for which police can be prosecuted in an apparent attempt to reign in such abuses.

The anti-torture measures follow other cases involving people being imprisoned because of forced confessions.

In 2005, government worker She Xianglin was compensated $67,000 after serving 11 years in prison for murdering his wife. He was freed when his wife later returned to their hometown. She Xianglin said he had been tortured into making a false confession.

  1. Will says:

    so when did 10 years in prison equal $45,000? This guy is getting screwed. It seems like 10 years of working would produce more than 45k. Not to mention the jail time and torture. Oh and I almost forgot. His wife remarried someone else and his kids were adopted. lol WOW!

  2. BradleyT says:

    The question ought not be “does it work?” but rather, “Is it right?”

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