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UN torture investigator begins visits to Chinese prisons

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak [profile] arrived in China [JURIST news archive] Monday for a two week trip, which will include visits to Chinese detention centers [press release] in Beijing, Tibet and the Muslim region of Xinjiang. The trip is a result of nearly 10 years of negotiations between Nowak and Beijing, and China has agreed to allow private access to prisoners and has promised not to take action against those who report mistreatment. China's detention practices have been criticized in the Chinese media and among human rights groups recently, following several false coerced confessions being made public. In one highly publicized case, a man who was tortured into confessing to the murder of his wife [JURIST report] was released after 11 years in prison, after his wife was found alive and living with her new husband. Human rights groups claim those tortured are often Tibetan or Uighur ethnic minorities, who are accused of instigating separatism. Alison Reynolds of the Free Tibet Campaign [organization website], said "Continuing and consistent reports from exiled Tibetans — with experience from both sides of China's judicial system — suggest (torture) is a deeply ingrained problem." The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently called on China to cooperate with international standards for the use of capital punishment [JURIST report]. Reuters has more. The UNHCHR has more on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.

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