China Bans Evidence Obtained During Torture

May 31, 2010

China (ChattahBox) – The Chinese government has banned evidence obtained during the torture of suspects from being used in court, after a man who confessed to a murder was exonerated after 11 years when his victim turned up alive.

Zhao Zuohai was beaten by two police officers eleven years ago until he confessed to killing a man who turned out just to be hiding. He was released when the victim was found alive, given $96,000, and the two policemen were arrested.

This is a common occurrence in China, where laws against torturing prisoners are usually disregarded, and evidence allowed by judges who know confessions are usually the only evidence relied on in a case.

But the government now says that evidence obtained using physical violence or torture will not be allowed in a courtroom, which they hope will stem the common violence police use against suspects in murder cases.

“Previously we could only infer from abstract laws that illegal evidence is not allowed. But in reality, in many cases, such evidence was considered valid,” Zhao Bingzhi, a legal expert explained, calling this a huge step in regulating this practice.

“This is big progress, both for the legal system and for better protection of human rights. It will help reduce the number of executions.”

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