Torture’s role in Chinese justice – Joseph Kahn

From The New York Times, via The International Herald Tribune:

For three days and three nights, the police wrenched Qin Yanhong’s arms high above his back, jammed his knees into a sharp metal frame, and kicked his gut whenever he fell asleep. The pain was so intense he watched sweat pour off his face and form puddles on the floor.

On the fourth day, he broke down. “What color were her pants?” they demanded. “Black,” he gasped, and felt a whack on the back of his head. “Red,” he cried, and got another punch. “Blue,” he ventured. The beating stopped. This is how Qin, a 35-year-old steel mill worker in central China’s Henan Province, groped in the darkness of an interrogation room to deduce the “correct” details of a rape and murder, end his and give the police the confession they required to close a nettlesome case.

On the strength of his coerced confession alone, prosecutors indicted Qin. A panel of judges then convicted him and sentenced him to death. He is alive today only because of a rare twist of fate that proved his innocence and forced the authorities to let him go, though not before a final push to have him executed anyway.

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