Chinese Court Convicts Six Officials Over Man’s Death in Custody

A court in eastern China sentenced six officials to between four to 14 years in prison for willful injury in the case of a businessman who died while in Communist Party custody, two of the lawyers involved in the case said.

The court in the city of Quzhou handed down the verdict on the six defendants, including five from the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, on Sept. 30, lawyers Pu Zhiqiang and Wu Pengbin said in separate phone calls. They represented the family of the man who died, Yu Qiyi.

The case shone a spotlight on the party’s internal discipline body, which has the power to detain party members during investigations. Prosecutors charged the defendants after the April 9 death of Yu, chief engineer at Wenzhou Industry Investment Group Co at the time.

In a report in April, the state-run Global Times newspaper said Yu was detained on March 1 on suspicion that he broke the law during the approval process for a land project. Yu died in custody and his body was covered in bruises, the Global Times reported in April, citing Yu’s family.

“Those who work for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will be more careful in the future doing their work,” Pu said.

The Quzhou court didn’t answer a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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