Detention rule triggers debate

08:20, April 27, 2010      

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Amendment 'runs counter to spirit' of law on compensation

Police departments need not pay compensation to suspects detained for up to 37 days even if they are later not charged with any crime, according to the latest draft amendment to the State Compensation Law which the country's top legislature has started to review.

However, if a person is illegally detained, or detained longer than stipulated, police have to pay compensation, according to the draft amendment submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for the fourth reading on Monday.

The State Compensation Law regulates when and how compensation is paid to victims whose rights and interests are infringed upon by administrative or judicial agencies, or officials.

The previous, or the third, draft amendment, stipulated that a person must be compensated as long as he or she is wrongly detained.

The change has been made following suggestions from some NPC Standing Committee members, Hong Hu, vice-chairman of the NPC Law Committee, told legislators.

"Some members said many criminal cases are complicated and police need to have a reasonable period of time to investigate and screen suspects," he said.

After detailed discussions with various top judicial departments including the top court, the top procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, the NPC Law Committee considered it unnecessary to make it obligatory for police to compensate victims if the detention is in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Law, he said.

The Criminal Procedure Law allows police to detain suspects for seven days. But if the suspect is believed to be involved in multiple or gang crimes, the detention can be extended for another 30 days.

Hong said if there is no major difference of opinion, the Law Committee suggests the draft amendment be passed at the bi-monthly legislative session that ends on Thursday.

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