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Home >> China
UPDATED: 10:54, March 09, 2006
Report: infringements upon human rights by U.S. law enforcement, judicial organs
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A report issued by China on Thursday points out infringements upon human rights by law enforcement and judicial organs in the United States, including secret snooping, police abuse, wrong convictions and the highest ratio of people behind bars.

The report, titled the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2005 and issued by the Information Office of the State Council of China, says that secret snooping is prevalent and illegal detention occurs from time to time in the United States, citing incidents including the Snoopgate scandal.

"From 2002 through 2004, there were at least 287 cases in which special agents of FBI were suspected of illegally conducting electronic surveillance," says the report.

It says on Dec. 21, 2005, the U.S. Senate decided to extend the Patriot Act, making it easier for FBI agents to monitor phone calls and e-mails, to search homes and offices, and to obtain the business records of terrorism suspects.

The report says police abuse is also very common in the United States and cases of police abuse are usually hard to get just settlement, citing incidents reported by U.S. mass media.

On July 14, 2005, Los Angeles police shot dead the 19-month-old daughter of a suspect when trying to arrest the suspect.

On Oct. 9, five New Orleans police officers battered a 64-year-old retired teacher on the street while trying to arrest him.

"According to a report of the Los Angeles Times on March 31, 2005, only eight out of more than 200 charges against police mistreatment and abuse were resolved, and the rest were either shelved or settled privately," the report says.

It says that there exist obvious injustice and frequent human rights infringements in the judiciary system of the United States.

Well-known Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos said in the CNN Larry King Live program on Dec. 21, 2005 that he had seen studies that there are up to 20 percent of wrongful convictions in the United States.

A report of the U.S. Death Penalty Information Center released in October 2005 said the U.S. death penalty system is "woefully short of justice," because of "misconduct in misinforming the juries."

The United States proclaims the country a "paradise of freedom", says the report, yet the total number and ratio of its people behind bars both rank the first in the world.

According to data released by the statistics bureau of the U.S. Justice Department on Oct. 23, 2005, the total number of people incarcerated in the United States was 2,267,787 at the end of 2004. This meant an incarceration rate of 724 per 100,000, up 18 percent from ten years earlier and 25 percent higher than that of any other nation.

As the prisons were packed, the situation of prisoners worsened. On Dec. 31, 2004, 24 state prison systems were operating at or above their highest capacity. The federal system was 40 percent over capacity.

As the U.S. government cut back on expenditure of prisons, some state prison systems reduced input on medical care for prisoners. As a result, a large number of prisoners were infected with tuberculosis or hepatitis.

In recent years, hundreds of inmates suffered head injuries from maltreatment in New York City alone. In a Rikers Island jail of New York, an inmate was punched on the head by a prison guard and he lost the sight in one eye; an inmate had his eardrum broken and the cheekbone of another inmate was fractured from police maltreatment.

During Hurricane Katrina, between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, 2005, correctional officers from the New Orleans Sheriff's Department abandoned 600 inmates in a prison, as many were immersed in chest and neck level water and left without food, water, electricity, fresh air, or functioning facilities for four days and nights.

Sexual infringement is quite common in prisons in the United States. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Justice in June 2005, an estimated 8,210 allegations of sexual violence were reported by correctional authorities, of which almost 42 percent involved staff-on-inmate sexual misconduct.

Source: Xinhua

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