China officials sentenced in graft suspect drowning

China officials sentenced in graft suspect drowning

BEIJING - A Chinese court has convicted six officials in the drowning of a man reportedly stripped and held under water to try to extract a corruption confession, a lawyer for the victim's family said Tuesday.

The rare case has offered an unusual glimpse into the internal workings of the ruling Communist Party's high-profile anti-corruption drive, although the verdict and sentence have gone unreported by China's state media.

The party maintains its own internal justice system, separate from Chinese state law, run by its feared and secretive Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, for which five of the men worked as corruption investigators.

The sixth man was a local prosecutor.

The group were sentenced late last month by a court in Zhejiang province, according to Wu Pengbin, a lawyer for the family of victim Yu Qiyi.

"On September 30, the court handed down individual sentences of four to 14 years for the six men," Wu told AFP.

The victim, Yu, had been the chief engineer of a state-owned company in the city of Wenzhou. He was arrested in March and detained for more than a month over suspected wrongdoings in a land deal.

He died in April while in the investigators' custody, reportedly after he had been stripped naked and held down in a bathtub as the officials sought to obtain a confession to corruption.

Family members also said they had found multiple bruises on Yu's body. Yu's detention and brutal treatment at the hands of his investigators bear the hallmarks of "shuanggui" or "two rules", the Communist party's internal interrogation process.

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