What kind of brutality could make a man kill himself in such a bloody way?Crime story takes bloody tombstone twist
BEIJING (Reuters) - The saga of a Chinese man wrongly accused and jailed for killing his wife has taken a bizarre turn with the discovery of a declaration of innocence by his arresting officer -- on a tombstone and in blood, local media said. Pan Yujun, 42, was involved in the interrogation of She Xianglin, who spent 11 years in jail for murdering his wife and was released only when she turned up alive in April.
She Xianglin has said subsequently he was tortured into confessing to the crime and Pan was under investigation for his role in the arrest.
Pan apparently used his own blood to scrawl a claim of innocence on a tombstone before hanging himself from a tree in a graveyard in central China, where he was found in the early hours of Wednesday, domestic media said Friday.
Widespread media coverage of She Xianglin's case has put pressure on authorities to address the issue of police brutality and forced confessions, which overseas rights groups say are common practice in China.
A Chinese court Thursday jailed two policemen for torturing a suspect in an unrelated case in northern Hebei province.
"Before hanging himself, (Pan) used his blood to write three words on a tombstone - 'I am innocent,'" China's Southern Metropolis Daily reported, adding Pan had slashed his left wrist with a pull tab from an aluminum soft drink can.
Since She Xianglin's case came to light, China has promised to crack down on police brutality, stipulated prosecutors must ask suspects if they were forced to confess during interrogations and launched a pilot project allowing interrogations to take place in front of video cameras and lawyers.
Two policemen found guilty of torturing another wrongly accused suspect into confessing to armed robbery were sentenced by a court in Tangshan of Hebei province Thursday to two years' prison each, the China Youth Daily said.
The two officers subjected the suspect to electrical shocks, forced him to drink water spiked with hot peppers or down 10 bottles of water at a time, and covered his ears with earphones blasting noise, the paper said.
The suspect, Li Jiuming, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by a Tangshan court in November 2003.
But Li was proved innocent and released last year after another man confessed to the robbery while in police custody, the China Youth Daily said. She Xianglin was also initially sentenced to death by a local court based on little evidence beyond his apparently forced confession.
A provincial court later commuted the sentence to 15 years in prison, 11 of which were served.
China executes an estimated 5,000 to 12,000 people a year, more than the rest of the world combined, overseas human rights groups say.