China jails five cops for torture

Associated Press

Beijing, May 16:

Five police officials in central China were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison for torturing a robbery suspect to death, the government’s Xinhua News Agency reported today. The report, while vague on when the sentence was delivered, comes as the central government is launching a nationwide crackdown on violence by law enforcement officers. China says torture is illegal, but has refused to allow international observers into its prisons and police stations to investigate allegations of abuse. The suspect in the case, Han Zhiqiang, was accused in March last year of stealing 140,000 yuan (US$17,000) from a bank run by the post office where he worked, the Xinhua report said. Police officials in Hebi, a city in Henan province, repeatedly beat him to try to get him to confess to the crime, Xinhua said, citing a court verdict.