Chinese court denies jail terms for abusing petitioners

BEIJING Mon Dec 3, 2012 2:54pm IST

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court has denied reports that it sentenced 10 people to jail for illegally detaining petitioners in Beijing, state media said on Monday, rejecting the account of what had been seen as a rare move to curb abuses of the law.

A Beijing newspaper reported on Sunday that the capital's Chaoyang district court sentenced 10 people from the poor central province of Henan to up to 18 months in jail for stopping petitioners from the province from airing grievances.

The report said the petitioners had been held in rented houses in a Beijing suburb and beaten.

But the official Xinhua news agency on Monday cited an unnamed court spokesperson denying the report, which had been spread widely on the Internet and published by numerous Chinese state media.

"The spokesman for the court said the news is not true," Xinhua said on its official micro-blog.

"The spokesman confirmed that the court has held a hearing on a case related to officials from a city in Henan, but denied that the judge has declared any verdict," the Xinhua post said.

The court could not be reached immediately for comment.

Petitioning officials has deep roots in China, where courts are seen as beyond the reach of ordinary people. Petitioners often try to take local disputes ranging from land grabs to corruption to higher levels in the country's capital Beijing.

But studies show only small numbers are ever able to resolve their cases through petitioning. In many cases, petitioners are rounded up in Beijing by men hired by provincial authorities to prevent the central government from learning of problems in China's outlying regions.

Despite international criticism, they are often forced home or held in "black jails", unlawful secret detention facilities where detainees can be subjected to beatings, sleep and food deprivation and psychological abuse.

(Reporting by Sally Huang and Michael Martina, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ukraine Crisis

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Chronology - Worst Ebola outbreak on record tests global response.  Full Article 

Fear Down Under

Fear Down Under

Australia fears Islamist radicals joining forces with biker gangs.  Full Article 

Mexico Protests

Mexico Protests

Molotov cocktails, clashes as Mexico City braces for massacre protests.  Full Article 

Nuclear Probe

Nuclear Probe

Iran rejects West's pressure on nuclear probe, offers site access.  Full Article 

Egypt Crackdown

Egypt Crackdown

Egypt arrests Brotherhood leader as crackdown intensifies.  Full Article 

Third Term

Third Term

Sri Lanka president seeks third term, critics want powers curbed.  Full Article 

Considering Pardon

Considering Pardon

Egypt's Sisi says pardon for Al Jazeera journalists "being discussed".  Full Article 

Difficult Diplomacy

Difficult Diplomacy

Iran still stalling as nuclear deal deadline looms - watchdog.  Full Article 

Detention Order

Detention Order

Swedish appeal court upholds Assange detention order.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage