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Prosecutors hit by bans in duty-related crime probes

Updated: 2015-08-07 07:27
(China Daily)

The Supreme People's Procuratorate has banned eight practices in the investigation of duty-related crimes, authorities said on Thursday.

A regulation was issued on Tuesday for prosecutors that is designed to "prevent illegal handling of duty-related crimes to ensure justice," according to a source in the SPP who asked not to be identified.

Prosecutors are prohibited from illegally investigating business officials, detaining them or monitoring them at their homes without first getting approval from higher authorities.

Additionally, prosecutors may not interfere in enterprises' normal business operations, according to a statement from the SPP. Those who abuse power by helping others to realize benefits in engineering, construction or project bidding, or who accept sponsorships or other bribes, will receive severe administrative punishments, including severe warnings or demotions. They can also face criminal charges.

Whether the anti-corruption prosecutors will handle such cases legally and fairly is a question that has aroused attention in the media and among the public.

"The notice will play an essential role in regulating the prosecutors' behavior, standardizing the processes for handling such cases," the SPP said.

The regulation emphasizes that prosecutors are only allowed to handle confiscated cash or deal with property according to laws and regulations. Those who violate the regulations by seizing and freezing assets at will, and fail to release them in a timely manner, or who embezzle cash or purchase property at a low price, will be punished.

Prosecutors should not block lawyers from meeting suspects in detention houses. In some major bribery cases, they must arrange for lawyers to meet their clients. Also, prosecutors are strictly prohibited from interrogating suspects without audio and video surveillance. If a corruption case doesn't have audio and video recordings during the whole interrogation process, the case will not be prosecuted.

In addition, under the rules prosecutors may not torture suspects or use other threatening or dishonest means to obtain evidence, and any suspicious or illegal evidence that may hinder justice must be excluded from court hearings.

Moreover, if misconduct leads to a suspect's escape, injury or suicide, a prosecutor's work will be stopped, and the individual responsible may face legal punishment.

"It's more than necessary to set up a supervisory mechanism inside the prosecuting departments under which prosecutors will fully perform their duties to ensure the regulation will be implemented effectively," said Hong Daode, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law.

The introduction of the eight bans is the latest development in the nationwide anti-corruption drive initiated in November 2012. Fighting corruption has become a top priority for the central authorities.

According to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, more than 100 high-ranking "tigers"-officials at provincial or ministerial level or above-have been investigated for "serious violations of discipline", including five former State leaders, such as Zhou Yongkang, the former security chief who was sentenced to life in prison.

Of the high-ranking officials investigated by the commission, more than 40 have been transferred to prosecuting departments for alleged graft.

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