Submission to UN on Gan Jinhua – February 5, 2010

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Communiqué on Extradicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Execution of PRC Citizen Gan Jinhua


To: Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions


I. Identity of the person concerned:

1. Family name: Gan (甘)

2. First name: Jinhua (锦华)

3. Sex: male

4. Birth date or age: Feb 23, 1977

5. Nationality: Chinese

6. Civil status (single, married, etc.): Divorced (after he was arrested)

7. Identity document: household registration (Hukou)

Issued by: Shunde Public Security Beaureau, Guangdong Province

Date of issue: Aug 4, 2004

8. Profession and/or activity (e.g. trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/solidarity/human rights, etc.): Farmer


II. Information regarding the incident:
1. Date: Gan Jinhua was originally taken into custody on November 12, 2004; after four trials, the most recent of which concluded in December, 2009, he is currently awaiting execution, which is believed to be imminent.

2. Place: Foshan City, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China

3. Time: present

4. The nature of the incident: Please describe the circumstances of the incident, including the following categories:

(a) death penalty, or fair trial guarantees, please detail (unfair laws or proceedings, charges, eventual appeals, execution is imminent, etc.)

On October 12, 2004, two nuns were murdered in Chencun Town, Shunde District, Guangdong Province.  One month later, on November 12, 2004, Gan Jinhua was detained for breaking into the home of Gan Xinhao in the same town.  He was charged with two counts of robbery. On June 10, 2005, the Foshan City Intermediate Court sentenced Gan Jinhua to death for robbery.  Gan Jinhua appealed; on December 28, 2005, the Guangdong Province Higher Court upheld his sentence. In April 2006, Gan Jinhua was granted a last-minute reprieve as the Guangdong Province Higher Court sent his case back for a retrial, but on April 18, 2008 Gan was again convicted and sentenced to death by the Foshan City Intermediate People’s Court. Gan Jinhua appealed, but in December 2009 the Guangdong Higher People’s Court upheld the ruling.  As required by Chinese law, the Supreme People’s Court must now review Mr. Gan’s case, but his execution is imminent.

Mr. Gan was convicted and sentenced to death primarily on the strength of a confession which was extracted by torture and without reliable concrete evidence.  Critical pieces of evidence were never introduced at his four trials, including the murder weapon, which was allegedly discarded in a fish pond but was never recovered despite an extensive police search. Blood-covered socks, gloves, and keys also allegedly belonging to Mr. Gan were never presented in court.

Critical witnesses for the defense, including the expert responsible for analyzing footprints at the scene, police who interrogated Mr. Gan, and alibi witnesses for Mr. Gan, were not allowed to appear in court. Mr. Gan’s wife, mother, and elder sister were prevented from testifying by the presiding judge during Mr. Gan’s final trial, preventing Mr. Gan’s lawyers from addressing some central facts of the case.  Mr. Gan’s lawyer holds that these witnesses and experts did not appear in court because the prosecution was worried about what might happen if they were allowed to testify.

That evidence which was introduced in court and used to convict Mr. Gan is also in question. An appraisal by the Sun Yat-sen University Legal Medical Appraisal Center found that blood from the crime scene could not be separated to allow for the differentiation of individuals’ DNA, contradicting an earlier finding that the blood contained the DNA of the two murder victims as well as Gan Jinhua.  Two pieces of evidence which allegedly contained blood belonging to Mr. Gan do not appear in photographs or descriptions of the crime scene, leading to questions of their legitimacy. Questions about the way in which DNA tests were carried out, and when they were carried out, remain. The statement of an expert who analyzed footprints from the scene was withheld until Mr. Gan’s final trial, preventing the defense from confronting this issue in court.

Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Gan’s confession was extracted by torture, as he was prevented from sleeping for more than three days and threatened by police while being questioned. Mr. Gan was interrogated over the course of more than one hundred hours, from 8 am on November 12, 2004, to 11 pm on November 16, 2004.  Mr. Gan was then taken to the crime scene on November 17, after signing his confession, and while en route was shown pictures to demonstrate the position of the victims and other details.

As a result, there are glaring inconsistencies between Mr. Gan’s confession and the facts of the case. For example, Mr. Gan claimed he stabbed the two nuns “3 or 4 times each,” when in fact one was stabbed 15 times and the other 21.  Mr. Gan claimed he struck them with a wooden chair, but neither of the chairs in the room showed any marks of being used in an attack.  Mr. Gan stated he injured his hand in the attack, but there was no evidence of blood on or near the window he allegedly crawled through to exit the room after killing the women.  Furthermore, police never noted the presence of a scar on Mr. Gan’s hand. Throughout Mr. Gan’s statement, his descriptions of his clothing change numerous times, and so on.

The record of Mr. Gan’s interrogation on November 15, 2004 states that it took place in the Shunde Detention Center, but Mr. Gan’s wife, mother, and sister state that they visited him that evening in the Chencun Police Station. Mr. Gan also stated that part of his statement was written by a policeman, who forced him to sign without allowing him to look at its content.
III. Forces believed to be responsible for the incident:
(a) if the perpetrators are believed to be State agents, please specify (military, police, persons in uniform or civilian clothes, agents of security services, unit to which they belong, rank and functions, etc.) and indicate why they are believed to be responsible; be as precise as possible:

Mr. Gan was convicted and sentenced to death by the Foshan City Intermediate People’s Court, whose decision was upheld by the Guangdong Higher People’s Court.  If he is executed, it will be after a review by the Supreme People’s Court of China. Police at the Chencun Police Station in Foshan City, Guangdong were responsible for extracting his confession by torture.


IV. Steps taken by the victim or his/her family:
(a) Indicate if complaints have been filed, when, by whom, and before which organ.

Mr. Gan Jinhua has appealed his sentence on two occasions, after his original conviction on June 10, 2005 and after his conviction following a retrial on April 18, 2008.  Both times he appealed to the Guangdong Higher People’s Court.

(b) Other steps taken: Gan’s lawyer, Mr. Teng Biao, has written a public letter on Gan’s behalf and collected signatures of legal scholars and others calling for the Supreme People’s Court to carefully consider Gan’s case.


V. Steps taken by the authorities:
(a) Indicate whether or not there have been investigations by the State authorities; if so, what kind of investigations? Progress and status of these investigations; which other measures have been taken (e.g. autopsy)?

As previously detailed, the relevant government organs have investigated Mr. Gan’s case throughout his prosecution, but serious questions about the nature of their investigations remain.  It is not known whether the Supreme People’s Court has begun its inquiry into the case; however, past practice suggests that the Supreme People’s Court almost always upholds the decisions of lower courts and Mr. Gan may be executed within seven days.

(b) in case of complaints by the victim or its family, how have the organs dealt with them? What is the outcome of those proceedings?

After both appeals by Mr. Gan Jinhua, the Guangdong Higher People’s Court upheld the decision of the lower court and affirmed the death sentence.


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