Prisoner Dies After ‘Having Nightmare’

Two months ago, news that prisoner Li Qiaoming died during the Chinese game “eluding the cat” sparked widespread furor across the Internet. This week, many Chinese are expressing anger and confusion at news that a prisoner in Jiangxi died after “having a nightmare.”

Chutian Metropolis Daily reports more on the story. Selectively translated by CDT:

“While in detention for criminal charges, 50-year-old brother suddenly died in Jiujiang of Jiangxi Province while in custody.” On March 30, family member Li Wenfu of Hanyang in Hubei Province reacted to the events that lead up to the incident.

According to Li Wenfu, elder brother Li Wenyan went to Jiujiang to work in May and had little contact with family. On March 27 of this year at 10AM, Jiujiang City Detention Center contacted his sister-in-law to notify her that Liu Wenyan was gravely ill, and that they needed to come immediately. At 12 in the afternoon, officials sent word to say that Li Wenyan had already died.

While the family was still speculating on the incident, at 6PM, Jiujiang Detention Center official Wei Liuqiang and another official in blue quickly arrived in Wuhan, accompanied by local police officials. They came to sister-in-law’s house to report that Li Wenyan had already died around 2:40AM. “Big brother Li Wenyan’s death struck the entire family as incredibly sudden,” said Li Wenfu. Before this, he did not even know that his brother was being held in custody. nightmare1
“刑拘期间,50岁的哥哥在江西九江看守所关押期间猝死。”3月30日,家住汉阳郭茨口的李文甫向本报反映了这件蹊跷事。

李文甫介绍,哥哥李文彦去年5月称到江西九江打工,很少跟家人联系。今年3月27日上午10时许,九江市看守所突然致电其弟媳任怡春,称李文彦病重,要他们速到看守所;中午12时许,该看守所再次致电任怡春,称李文彦已经死亡。

当他们一家人对此事真假猜测不定时,当晚6时许,九江市看守所政委刘强及一名监管干部赶到武汉,在辖区派出所民警陪同下,来到弟媳家中再次告知,李文彦在当日凌晨2时40分许,已经死亡。“大哥李文彦的死亡,让我们一家感到非常突然。”李文甫说,此前,他都不知道大哥被关押在九江市看守所。

In the afternoon of March 30, a reporter accompanied Li Wenfu and his family to the funeral parlor in Jiujiang City. After repeated requests, at 3PM, Li Wenyan’s family members and the reporter saw him for the last time. What the family members never imagined to see, however, were the green and purple bruises on Li Wenyan’s forehead.

An official stated that towards the latter part of the case, he had telephoned Li Wenyan’s sister-in-law, Ren Yichun. However, for some unknown reason, Li’s family never came to visit.

Ren Yichun told the reporter that she had never felt nonchalant towards her brother-in-law’s situation, but she thought the phone call was some sort of ruse. Two years prior, she had received a long-distance call telling her that her niece had gotten into a car accident and that she should immediately send 800 yuan. After sending the money, she realized that she had been duped. Because of the impact of this incident, she didn’t believe the public security officer’s call. Also, she thought to herself that police agents would have followed some sort of procedure, and not simply made a telephone call.

As for the event of Li’s death, Jiujiang Detention Center told the reporter that on March 27, Li Wenyan had cried out during a nightmare but did not wake up. After that, they found that his pulse was weak. At the hospital, he was beyond saving. Jiujiang’s Lushan People’s Hospital issued a death certificate that clearly indicated “sudden death.”

In regards to Li’s forehead, the Jiujiang Detention Center head Zhu Shigen stated that in a few jails, inmates would take advantage of a guard’s negligence and play card games. As penalties for losing, one might have to drink unboiled water or get finger flicks to the forehead. However, could this account for the forehead’s bruises the family saw? Where did they truly come from? They wanted further investigation.
3月30日中午,记者陪同李文甫及家人赶到九江市殡仪馆。经反复要求,当日下午3时许,李文彦的家人及记者,在殡仪馆停尸房的冷柜中,见到李文彦最后一面。让家人没有想到的是,死者李文彦的额头上有几处青紫伤痕。

[…] 范警官又介绍:在后期案件侦办过程中,他们掌握到李文彦的弟媳任怡春的电话,并给任怡春打去电话,可不知为何,李的家人一直没有来看守所探望。

任怡春告诉记者,她并非对大哥的被抓感到漠不关心,而是怀疑打来的电话是个骗局。因为在两年前,她接到一个外地电话,对方称她的侄女出车祸了,赶紧汇800 元钱来,等她汇钱去后,才发现上当受骗。受这件事影响,她没有相信这个自称公安人员的电话,她心里只是觉得,警方办案应该会有一套程序,而不是简单地打个电话。

对李文彦的死亡过程,九江市看守所向记者介绍,3月27日凌晨1时53分许,李文彦睡觉时做噩梦喊不醒,后来发现脉搏微弱,送医院抢救无效死亡。九江市庐山区人民医院的死亡证明书显示其为“猝死”。

对于死者额头上的情况,九江市看守所所长朱拾根说,在一些监室里,同室关押的嫌疑犯,有的会趁监管干部不注意时玩牌,玩输的会以喝凉水、或者用手指弹额头作处罚。不过,家属所看到死者头上的情况,是否为伤痕?到底是如何造成的?他们还要展开进一步调查。

nightmare2An official told the family members of the deceased that this year on January 1st, citizens reported to a local police station that three suspects [including Li] were apprehended on the scene for stealing an electrical cable. During the trial, the three pleaded not guilty. Following this, the three were transferred to the Shuishang office’s criminal investigation department of the Bureau of Public Security.
范警官向死者家属和记者介绍:今年元月22日,该市开发区公安分局下属的一家派出所,接群众举报出警,当场抓获3名盗窃电缆的犯罪嫌疑人。经审讯,3人对盗窃电缆一事供认不讳。随后,3名嫌疑人被移交到水上公安分局刑侦大队。

Accounts of the causes of Li’s bruises and later death have been held in suspicion by many netizens. Another issue they find question with is that there is no surveillance video recording for the time during which Li died.

From cnhubei.com:

According to some commentators, the people’s right to know is not a trivial or entertaining issue. In investigating this, the media and the people all have enough wisdom and patience — if they do not grant even a little wisdom or patience, then their remaining fear would be a scolding and they would continue in their endless speculation. From all of this, there is a loss of confidence in the party and the government. I wish that this “death by nightmare” phrase was an April Fool’s joke, and nothing more [news of the incident broke on April 1st].
有评论人士认为,民众的知情权,不是用来调戏和娱乐的。对事件真相的追寻,媒体和网民,都有足够的智慧和耐心,如果连一点智慧和耐心的机会都不给,留下的恐怕就是恶言和漫骂,还有无穷无尽的猜测,以及背后深深的无奈。由此所生的,更是党和政府公信力的流失。但愿这一次的“做噩梦致死”说法,仅是愚人节的一个谎言而已。

Read more from CDT about the “eluding the cat” incident. The Chinese government recently announced it is launching an investigation into abuse of detainees.

April 3, 2009 8:48 PM
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