Top China court calls for end to confession through torture

Top China court calls for end to confession through torture

BEIJING - China's top court said Thursday the use of torture to extract confessions must end, in a legal system that has long been riddled with abuses.

The Supreme People's Court issued the guideline a week after Beijing revealed a package of legal reforms including abolishing the widely loathed re-education through labour system and reducing the scope of the death penalty.

"Interrogation by torture in extracting a confession, as well as the use of freezing, hunger, drying, scorching, fatigue and other illegal methods to obtain a confession from the accused must be eliminated," the court said on its verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter equivalent.

Rights activists say Chinese police face few checks and balances on their power and commonly resort to abuse to extract confessions.

The legal system is ultimately controlled by the all-powerful Communist Party. According to the US State Department's latest human rights report on the country, its courts find 99.9 per cent of defendants guilty.

A trickle of wrongful convictions were overturned earlier this year, including that of Chen Keyun.

Chen served 12 years in prison after he confessed, following severe beatings, to a bombing that killed a man.

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