New death-in-custody case probe | Shanghai Daily

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New death-in-custody case probe

PROSECUTORS from provincial and city levels are investigating another death-in-custody case, this time in Guangdong Province.

Liu Yushan, 35, died on March 31 in a prison in Foshan City in the southern China province and the prison governor said yesterday he died suddenly, possibly because of heart disease. His family says it saw evidence that he had been beaten to death, the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolitan Daily reported today.

Liu's family saw his body at a funeral home on April 1 and said his legs were swollen and bruised and his right knee seemed to have been broken. Family members wanted to feel the injuries but policemen stopped them from getting close.

Liu's family was told by prison staff on March 31 that Liu had died suddenly in Gaoming Prison Hospital, and produced a 2005 certificate saying Liu was found to be suffering from heart disease. The hospital said this might have caused his death. But Liu's relatives said they were unaware that he suffered from heart disease.

Liu, a native of Gaoming District in Foshan City, was sentenced to death in June 1993 for stealing motorbikes worth 210,000 yuan (US$30,702) with others. His sentence was commuted to 17 years in jail and he would have been due for release just seven months from now, according to his brother Liu Yuyu.

Relatives visited Liu in prison several times and found Liu in good health. They last time they saw Liu in November he was looking well.

Liu was sent to solitary confinement and was under investigation from March 10 to 17 for possessing a mobile phone. His brother Liu Yuyu had a tape recording in which a prison warder said Liu had admitted getting a mobile phone for another prisoner on February 20. When he heard the prison was to be searched, he threw the phone into a rubbish bin.
Liu's family think this is connected to his death.

The family also wants to know why they were only told of the death 20 hours after Liu had been pronounced dead by the prison hospital, and why they are yet to receive a death certificate, which means they cannot apply for an autopsy.

The governor of Gaoming Prison, Li Jianping, has refused to make any comments before the prosecutors' report.

Police across the country have been ordered to launch a three-month campaign to combat the abuse of prisoners in Chinese jails, the Ministry of Public Security said on March 30, one day before Liu's death, following a series of accusations of torture and an uproar over suspicious inmate deaths.

The campaign aims to eliminate the misuse of authority and boost awareness of the law and human rights.

The ministry said officers must learn from the death of 24-year-old Li Qiaoming earlier this year.

In that case, officers initially said the man died accidentally while playing a game of blind man's bluff with other inmates in a detention center in Yunnan Province in February. Li was later found to have been beaten to death by other inmates.

Other cases highlighted by state media include a report on the death of 50-year-old Li Wenyan.

He was found dead in a detention house in Jiujiang City, Jiangxi Province, on March 27, and authorities said the Hubei native died after having a nightmare.

Li Wenyan's family demanded an autopsy and discovered bruises on his forehead, according to the Wuhan-based Chutian Metropolis Daily.

Several weeks ago, two teenage offenders died while serving jail terms in a reformatory in central China.

Authorities said they died naturally. But the family of Xiao Haixing, 19, found blood, bruises and cuts on Xiao's body, according to the Oriental Outlook magazine.

Qiu Xiaolong, 18, was found unconscious in a cell at the same reformatory on March 6 and was pronounced dead at a hospital after receiving emergency treatment.

Qiu's father found that his son's body was bloodied and bruised, though authorities denied any violence had been involved.



 

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