Submission to UN on Cheng Fagen – November 2005

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Questionnaire completed by representatives of person alleging torture: Civil Rights Defense Net and the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders [abridged]

 

To: Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
A. Minimum elements of information:

 

a. Full name of the victim; Cheng, Fagen
b. Date on which the incident(s) of torture occurred (at least as to the month and year); June 4, 2002
c. Place where the person was seized (city, province, etc.) And location at which the torture was carried out (if known); Cheng was seized in Leping City, Jiangxi Province, People’s Republic of China.  The torture was carried out at the Power Plant of Leping City.
d. Indication of the forces carrying out the torture; Detectives and security guards from the Public Security Bureau of Leping City
e. Description of the form of torture used and any injury suffered as a result; Form of torture: Beating, kicking, trampling, handcuffing, leg chaining, mouth gagging and muffling, crushing chest and back bones with object, “airplane cuffs”(“airplane cuffs” (飞机铐) involves tying both arms behind with two pairs of cuffs, the chains between the cuffs can be shortened by jerking the lead in front of the chest causing excruciating pain, the shoulders may also dislocate. Prolonged cuffing often results in permanent damage in victims), hanging on rope and stretching. Injuries: Bleeding, swollen legs and arms, scars (remaining two years later) from wounds on arms and legs.

Attached relevant corroborating documents (at the end of this report): Excerpts from the appeal paper by Cheng Fagen, a prisoner on death roll, in Leping City, Jiangxi Province, to the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court

 

B. Detailed information:

 

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture:
A. Family Name: Cheng
B. First and other names: Fagen
C. Sex: Male
D. Birth date or age: August 11, 1968
E. Nationality: People’s Republic of China
F. Occupation: Carpenter

 

II. Circumstances surrounding torture:

 

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture: Arrested on June 19, 2002, in Leping City, Jiangxi Province

 

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other): Police and detectives of the Leping Municipal Public Security Bureau

 

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest? Family was never allowed to see the defendant in detention. Only saw him from far at the court trials. The lawyer is allowed to see him in prison.

 

D. Describe the methods of torture used: Beating, kicking, trampling, handcuffing, leg chaining, mouth gagging and muffling, crushing chest and back bones with object, “airplane cuffs” (“airplane cuffs” (飞机铐) involves tying both arms behind with two pairs of cuffs, the chains between the cuffs can be shortened by jerking the lead in front of the chest causing excruciating pain, the shoulders may also dislocate. Prolonged cuffing often results in permanent damage in victims), hanging on rope and stretching.

 

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture? Scars from wounds on legs and arms

 

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture? Forcing the defendant to confess to crimes of rape and murder

 

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor? Not known, since family visit is not allowed and the lawyer is afraid to contact human rights groups. Waiting for further information.

 

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Not known, waiting for further information.

 

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal? Not known, waiting for further information.

 

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results? Not applicable.

 

III. Remedial action

 
Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result? The defendant had told his lawyer that he was tortured to confess.  The lawyer had argued that the police’s evidence should be thrown out and new investigations must be conducted. But the Leping Intermediate Court ignored the argument and sentenced the defendant to death.  After the defendant appealed (more than once), the Jiangxi Provincial Higher Court sent the case back to the Intermediate Court for re-investigation and re-trial (more than once).  Each time, the Intermediate Court refused to conduct new investigation and insisted using the confession obtained through torture and the evidence collected by the police before the first trial. And the Intermediate Court upheld the death sentence. The last repeal by the defendant to the Provincial Higher Court has never been responded to.

Attached relevant document:

Excerpts from the appeal paper by Cheng Fagen, a prisoner on death row, in Leping City, Jiangxi Province, to the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court

 

Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court and Jingdezheng Municipal Intermediate People’s Court:

 

“I received and signed the criminal final verdict issued by the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court, Jiangxi Criminal Final No. 1-116, on April 23, 2004…” [This final verdict returned the lower court’s verdict and death sentence to the local court for a re-trial.  The re-trial, which allowed no new investigation or evidence to be introduced, reached the same verdict and re-sentenced the defendant to death.  Further appeal by the defendant had not been responded to.]

 

[The letter then described how the defendant was seized, interrogated, and tortured to confess crimes he said he never committed.  And it gave details of the torture to force the defendant to confess:]

 

“… I refused to sign (the incriminating confession).  They (the interrogators) were infuriated and responded with blows across my face. As they beat me they threatened me and started the torture.  They forced me to kneel down on the floor, cuffed my hands behind my back.  They used another pair of cuffs to tie my hands and ankles together, so I could not jerk forward or backward to lessen the blows.  The men in front repeatedly clouted my face and chest, while those behind me trampled me on my calves and toes. The pain was so unbearable I screamed and screamed. The interrogator said, just tell the truth, I insisted that I did not kill anyone and couldn’t confess, but got more beating. When I regained consciousness, they told me to confess, and to swear my answers on my son’s life. With no hesitance I swore my innocence on my son’s life, I told them I love my son and my family, and everybody in my village knew how difficult it was for me to have a son, and that my son is my life and hope. This only brought on more and more crushing blows. My nose and mouth were bleeding, and more so my heart ached, I didn’t know how I should answer to make them relieve me from more pain.  I broke down after endless rounds of beating and cried for my mother and father. The interrogators then gagged my screams with rag, removing it only when they wanted me to answer questions. The beatings and interrogation went on and on. I was terrified. At midnight some new officers took over the interrogation, they refused to give me water, saying that I was not cooperative, and again they took turns to beat me until nearly dawn. By then, my legs had become so swollen and painful I couldn’t kneel straight anymore, but they still forced me to kneel straight; I fainted from exhaustion and pain, and when I came to I noticed the floor was covered with my sweat and blood.

 

The next morning the third team came in, they told me ominously that the show has not even begun yet, and wondered how much longer I would endure. I begged and pleaded with them, telling them that in 2000 I wasn’t even in Yueping, I was away working in another town Jingdezheng, and they can verify this with all my friends and my wife. They had no interest in listening, and began a new round of beating, kicking me hard in my thighs. Then they told me to stand up and placed a chair right up to my chest, one of the men held me by the waist, another man standing behind me jerked the chair backward, I was in so much pain, I could hear the joints of my backbone and my arms crack under the stress, the handcuffs dug deeply into my flesh, and I screamed and cried for my mother. I pleaded and begged them again and again, tears were streaming from my eyes. Later they forced me to kneel down again, twisted my arms back and bound me with the infamous “airplane cuffs” (飞机铐) (See Note below), tightening the cuff chains and I could hear my arms and shoulders crack loudly. The pain was so great, it could not be described with words. But still they did not stop, and even weighed the cuffs down further with bricks and big bottles of water. I passed out from the pain again, but they did not stop and kept up the torture until noon.

 

On the afternoon of June 5, a new batch of interrogators arrived. They told me that if I don’t confess they will break me. They found an A-frame ladder, tied me up and hung me from the top, and weighed my legs down with bricks. One of them held the ladder, while another man focused on hitting me. He used a lighter to burn the hair under my arms and burn my body, he threw blows across my face and my chests, he pushed my body around like a swing, and stepped on my bound feet to stretch me further. I was in so much pain I couldn’t scream, and I felt that my arms and legs were about to break. I struggled to spit out the rag from my mouth, and wanted to commit suicide by biting my tongue, but they took off my socks, knotted them and tied them around my mouth. They stuffed a water bottle in my mouth to muffle my screams.  What was worse, when I needed to drink water they didn’t take off the stinking socks, but directly poured water through the socks. I realized that I was no more than an animal to these people. They kept me hanging from the ladder and took turns to beat me until night.  I screamed and pleaded and begged them but they totally ignored me, I really never killed anybody, but they just made it worse. God, mom, dad, what am I to do?

 

That night 4 or 5 new people came in, as they saw that I was not going to make it, they let me down for a few minutes, I saw that my arms and hands had swollen up like a loaf, and had turned dark purple.  Handcuffs dug so deep into my wrists, leaving deep wounds. They told me that their supervisor had instructed them to carry on. Each group of interrogators was brutal than the last. I was exhausted from the endless torment and the torture had left no strength to speak. I was left numbly hanging in that room till midnight. The only way out was to say what they wanted me to say. For example, they asked, how did that woman die, I said I knifed her, then they hit me, and one of them pointed below my feet, I saw a few bricks, so I said I killed her with bricks, they hit me again and I looked again and saw some strings, so I said I used strings. My mind and my body were utterly broken and destroyed by these monsters. I had nobody to cry for help and all hopes had deserted me. My voice was feeble and I knew I was about to die.

 

My whole body was numb and I was drifting in and out of consciousness, they forced my hand to sign and stamped with my fingers on a confession they have written. I could no longer hold the pen, so one of them held my hand and forced it to close into a fist, holding the pen so I could sign. There seemed to be two copies, and I had no idea what was written on it. When I became a little more aware they got someone to read out the confession and asked me to repeat after him, telling me that I have admitted to murder and signed the confession and now there was no going back.  I drowsily let them manipulated me for video and audio recording, there was nothing I could do…”

 

 

“In conclusion, I have told the truth about the way I was interrogated and tortured.  I cannot describe with words my suffering at the hands of the interrogators, with torture, hanging, the airplane cuffs; I have witnessed my own physical destruction, the horrific torture.  I cannot describe the terror, the mental scar I will forever bear.

 

I could not endure the beatings, the long periods of handcuffing, I did not hold out under the torture.  Under the interrogation, the torture, the threats, the hints from the interrogators, I was led to confess to a crime I did not commit, and I hate myself for that.  But, I am just the son of a ordinary humble peasant, I have never witnessed anything so cruel and horrific. Steel would melt under such intense pressure, what chance did an ordinary person like me stand?…”

 

Cheng Fagen (defendant)

 

20 October 2004

 

Note: “Airplane cuffs” (飞机铐) involves tying both arms behind with two pairs of cuffs, the chains between the cuffs can be shortened by jerking the lead in front of the chest causing excruciating pain, the shoulders may also dislocate.  Prolonged cuffing often results in permanent damage in victims.

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