Open letter requesting Supreme People’s Court immediately to open an investigation into the use of torture in the Chongqing anti-mafia campaign

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The following is a translation of a public letter signed by a group of Chinese lawyers, activists, and writers concerned over allegations of torture in the Chongqing anti-mafia campaign. For the original text, in Chinese, please click here.

Open letter requesting Supreme People’s Court immediately to open an investigation into the use of torture in the Chongqing anti-mafia campaign

Published on 23 August 2010 at 10:04:00

To the Supreme People’s Court and Chief Procurator Cao Jianming:

The Chongqing Anti-mafia campaign has triggered a lot of public controversy. There is certainly nothing wrong with cracking down on organized [mafia] crime if it is done strictly in accordance with the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law. But available evidence makes one come to the conclusion that the legal and political authorities of Chongqing are producing a large quantity of wrongful convictions in the name of ‘striking hard against organized crime’, and are suspected of using torture indiscriminately, harming innocent persons, and trampling on the rules of procedure. The way in which torture has been used, in particular, is absolutely shocking.

To use the case of Fan Qihang as an example in the series of ‘anti-mafia’ cases recentlyhandled in Chongqing, his criminal defence lawyer published relevant photographs and video recordings that showed that the defendant Fan Qihang had endured extremely serious torture during the criminal investigation stage. According to the materials published by Lawyer Zhu Mingyong, Fan Qihang was brutally beaten, hung up by his shackled hands, ‘put on the metre’ (that is to say, forced to endure a bent position in which he was shackled and fettered), etc, during the criminal investigation stage. At this time, his scalp, his wrists, and his ankles all show deep scars. During the period of his torture, Fan Qihang attempted suicide when he was no longer able to endure the pain of torture, by biting off the tip of his own tongue and in other ways.

According to Fan Qihang’s own account:

‘They used many different methods to extract ‘confessions’ from me. For instance they shackled my hands behind my back and hung me by my wrists from an iron window grille, so that my toes just barely touched the ground, and they never took me off. The longest they did that was for five [consecutive] days before they took me off. That time, to be honest, I have no words to describe that pain. I really felt that living was worse than dying then. The shackles ate into the flesh [of my wrists]; they became embedded to deeply that when they were taken off, it was all blood and pus; I can remember clearly that it took them over an hour to remove my shackles….In their jargon they called this ‘putting someone on the metre.’ It meant that they shackled my hand together and then attached them to my leg irons, so that my body was forced into a bent position at a 90° angle. Then they kept me standing for a week; the longest period, I remember, was for over ten days. For over ten days I was not able to sleep for one minute, not even one second. During that time I fainted and fell unconscious several times, when they saw me fainted, they splashed me with cold water to bring me back to my senses. A person pulled me up again by the fetters, and once they had woken me up in that way, they made me continue to stand [in a bent position]. Whenever I collapsed, they pulled me up again, made me stand again, and beat and kicked me….Living was worse than dying; and I actually tried to commit suicide because I could no longer endure this torment. Twice I bashed my head against the wall, leaving two big scars on my head. While I was hung up and they wouldn’t take me off, but instead splashed me with cold water to wake me up, I bit through the tip of my tongue. After that, it took two days before they took me to a clinic to treat the wound. By that time there was a bit of my tongue left hanging loosely attached. They tore it off. It began to fester…’

Even more shocking is that according to the materials submitted for the death penalty review disclosed by Lawyer Zhu Mingyong, during the trial of the Fan Qihang other defendants also reported about having suffered torture. For example,

‘Some said, I was tortured so badly that I tried to jump from the window, but they prevented me! Some said that the police had threatened him with burying him alive if he did not confess.

The only woman [defendant] in this case said, they tortured me so terribly, they cracked my head and almost knocked my teeth out.

Another defendant cried, Presiding Judge, you mustn’t believe the police on any account, whether they wanted me to confess to ten or even twenty kilos of ice [meth], I had to confess.’

The publication of the abovementioned materials has produced an enormous reaction from the public. According to media reports and accounts by lawyers, in a great number of ‘mafia’ cases, the use of torture was a common phenomenon. And it was common for confessions extracted through torture to be used as the basis for conviction. Officers involved in the handling of these cases, who were suspected of torture, were never held accountable in any way whatsoever. This clearly gravely violated the dignity of our country’s law.

According to the 2005 ‘Supreme People’s Procuracy Provisions on the Criteria for Filing Dereliction of Duty and Rights Infringement Criminal Cases,’ a case must be filed in the following instances of uses of torture:
(1) If a person’s liberty is illegally deprived for 24 hours or more;
(2) If a person’s personal liberty is illegally deprived, and instruments or bindings, among other vile means, are used, or beatings, insults, or maltreatment are used;
(3) If illegal custody leads to minor injury, serious injury, or death of the person in custody;
(4) If the circumstances of illegal custody are serious, and bring about the suicide, serious injury through self-infliction, death, or mental disorder of the person in custody;
(5) If illegal custody is used against three or more individuals, or three or more times;
(6) If a judicial officer knows that there are no facts [to support] that an individual has committed a criminal offense, and yet takes him into illegal custody;
(7) In other situations in which illegal custody should be investigated for criminal liability.’

Any risk to human life is of utmost concern. Given that this case it already undergoing review by the Supreme People’s Court, and considering the great impact the Chongqing anti-mafia campaign has already made, and in a spirit of responsibility for the law and for the defendants in this case, we call upon the Supreme People’s Court immediately to open an investigation into the question whether in the cases of the Chongqing anti-mafia campaign , including that of Fan Qihang, torture has been used, and to publish the results of this investigation in a timely fashion. In the event that torture has indeed been used, the persons concerned should be held legally accountable accordingly.

Article 41 of the PRC Constitution provides: ‘Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions to any state organ or official. Citizens have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints and charges against, or exposures of, violation of the law or dereliction of duty by any state organ or official.’ As citizens concerned about our nation’s progress toward the rule of law, we request the Supreme People’s Procuracy to fulfill its public duty in accordance with law, speedily to institute an investigation and to correct any methods used by local officials that have violated the rule of law or trampled upon human rights.

Public signatories:

王 工(律师 北京)

秋 风(学者 北京)

杨支柱(学者 北京)

邓文初(学者 北京)

周 泽(学者、律师 北京)

范亚峰(法律学者 北京)

凌沧洲(作家 北京)

许 晖(自由作家 北京)

滕 彪(学者 北京)

王 成 (律师 杭州)

温克坚(学者 杭州)

张 辉(学者 北京)

李天天(律师 上海)

李金星(律师 北京)

唐吉田(律师 北京)

倪玉兰(律师 维权人士 北京)

李柏光(律师 北京)

刘治成(法律工作者 北京)

兰志学(律师 北京)

丁锡奎(律师 北京)

柴清海(律师 北京)

刘 巍(律师 北京)

黄秀丽(记者 北京)

北 风(作家 广州)

王金祥(法律工作者 北京)

黎雄兵(律师 北京)

李方平(律师 北京)

唐荆陵(律师 广州)

袁雪城(公民 苏州)

董前勇(律师 北京)

江天勇(律师 北京)

朱汝玲(律师 北京)

李静林(律师 北京)

邢建军(维权人士 北京)

温海波(律师 北京)

金光鸿(律师 北京)

王全章(律师 北京)

李和平(律师 北京)

李苏滨(律师 北京)

张 凯(律师 北京)

许复颖(公民 北京)

朱瑞峰(记者 北京)

许 东(公民 北京)

童朝平(律师 北京)

徐 平(律师 北京)

杨慧文(律师 北京)

蔺其磊(律师 北京)

彭 剑(律师 北京)

邬宏威(律师 北京)

梁小军(律师 北京)

Wang Gong (Lawyer, Beijing)
Bei Feng (Scholar, Beijing)
Yang Zhizhu (Scholar, Beijing)
Deng Wenchu (Scholar, Beijing)
Zhou Ze (Scholar, Lawyer, Beijing)
Fan Yafeng (Legal Scholar, Beijing)
Ling Cangzhou (Writer Beijing)
Xu Hui (Freelance Writer, Beijing)
Teng Biao (Scholar, Beijing)
Wang Cheng (Lawyer, Hangzhou)
Wen Kejian (Scholar, Hangzhou)
Zhang Hui (Scholar, Beijing)
Li Tian Tian (Lawyer, Shanghai)
Li Jinxing (Lawyer, Beijing)
Tang Jitian (Lawyer, Beijing)
Ni Yulan (Lawyer, Activist, Beijing)
Li Baiguang (Lawyer Beijing)
Liu Zhicheng (Lawyer, Beijing)
Lan Zhixue (Lawyer, Beijing)
Ding Xikui (Lawyer, Beijing)
Chai Qinghai (Lawyer, Beijing)
Liu Wei (Lawyer Beijing)
Huang Xiuli (Journalist, Beijing)
Bei Feng, (Writer, Guangzhou)
Wang Jinxiang (Lawyer Beijing)
Li Xiongbing (Lawyer, Beijing)
Li Fangping (Lawyer, Beijing)
Tang Jingling (Lawyer Guangzhou)
Yuan Xuecheng (Citizen, Suzhou)
Dong Qianyong (Lawyer, Beijing)
Jiang Tianyong (Lawyer, Beijing)
Zhu Ruling (Lawyer, Beijing)
Li Jinglin (Lawyer, Beijing)
Xing Jianjun (Human Rights Activist, Beijing)
Wen Haibo (Lawyer, Beijing)
Jin Guanghong (Lawyer, Beijing)
Wang Quanzhang (Lawyer, Beijing)
Li Heping (Lawyer, Beijing)
Li Subin (Lawyer, Beijing)
Zhang Kai (Lawyer, Beijing)
Xu Fuying (Citizen, Beijing)
Zhu Ruifeng (Journalist, Beijing)
Xu Dong (Citizen, Beijing)
Tong Chaoping (Lawyer, Beijing)
Xu Ping (Lawyer, Beijing)
Yang Huiwen (Lawyer, Beijing)
Lin Qilei (Lawyer, Beijing)
Peng Jian (Lawyer, Beijing)
Wu Hongwei (Lawyer, Beijing)
Liang Xiaojun (Lawyer, Beijing)

22 August 2010

Citizens are welcome to sign. If you wish to sign please send an email with your real name occupation, and location to the signatory email account:

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