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ICC Note: The UN is calling for reforms in China ’s courts and police departments. The jailing of people for religious expression is unacceptable. Many Chinese are tortured and jailed for years without access to justice.

For the full article click here: AsiaNews

AsiaNews (03/21/06) — Manfred Nowak, chief investigator of the UN anti-torture agency, has confirmed “widespread use of torture in China ” and called for the “immediate release of people jailed for exercising their right to free speech or religion”.

To stop the “widespread use of torture in China ”, Beijing must make radical changes in its justice and police systems, said the top investigator of the UN anti-torture agency. A new report by Manfred Nowak on crimes committed in Chinese prisons was published on 10 March and made public yesterday on the United Nations website.

The UN investigator called for an immediate halt to execution for economic and nonviolent crimes, for the abolition of “increasingly vague” state security laws used against dissidents, and for the release of people jailed for exercising their right to free speech or religion.

Nowak is the first UN authority to visit Chinese prisons in 15 years. He said “police across China ” commonly torture even low-level criminal suspects during interrogation: to stop this practice, it is “essential that videotaping of police interrogations becomes routine”. Further, judges in Chinese courts “should publicly ask suspects if they have been mistreated by police officers.” As for Beijing , it should “publish and make available for consultation death penalty statistics and relevant sentences”.