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Ex-officials, wealthy 'got out of jail early'

Updated: 2015-02-11 07:55
By Zhang Yan (China Daily)

Investigation launched to close loopholes, ensure judicial fairness

Many ex-senior officials or wealthy people have had their prison sentences illegally commuted, an investigation by the Supreme People's Procuratorate has found.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate launched the investigation in March to close loopholes in the prison system and improve judicial fairness and credibility.

"Many of the inmates who were found guilty of duty-related or economic crimes, or involving mafia-like gangs, have been released on parole or had their sentences illegally commuted," Yuan Qiguo, director of the SPP's prison management bureau, said on Tuesday.

During the investigation, prosecutors obtained 470 such reports from the public and media, mostly involving inmates charged with duty-related or economic crimes, Yuan said.

"Compared with common convicts, they will get a long commutation of their sentences or conditional release, and some of them find ways to accumulate fake points that contribute to getting their sentences reduced," he said.

In addition, some convicts submitted fake medical certificates requiring them to serve their sentences outside, according to Yuan.

Ex-officials, wealthy 'got out of jail early'

Under the Criminal Law, if inmates behave well or are credited with "meritorious achievements", they will be eligible for reduced sentences or conditional release.

If convicts are diagnosed as having serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease or high blood pressure, they can apply to serve their sentences outside to receive medical treatment.

After conducting initial investigations, prison departments will submit the documents of inmates who apply for commutation of their sentences to the local superior court for a new judgment. After the courts issue a new ruling, the commutation will take effect.

According to the SPP, prosecutors also investigated a number of law enforcement officials who received huge bribes to help convicts obtain commutations, including Sun Hai, former deputy head of the Hebei Provincial Prison Management Bureau, and Liu Xianming, former head of the public security department in Cexiang county, Guizhou province.

The prosecuting departments will conduct thorough investigations and carefully examine the illegal commutation of sentences for ex-officials and wealthy people to ensure justice is done, Yuan said.

Apart from strengthened supervision over convicts who apply for commutation, the courts should also hold open court hearings and publicize the verdicts online to improve transparency, said lawyer Li Wei from the Beijing Lawyers Association.


(China Daily 02/11/2015 page4)

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