Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 09:23 UK

China police killer loses appeal


Yang Jia's appearance in court

A court in China has upheld the death sentence of a man accused of killing six police officers in a case that has captured the public's attention.

The judge in Shanghai rejected Yang Jia's appeal, saying what the 28-year-old did was "extremely cruel".

He is accused of going on a killing spree, apparently in revenge for maltreatment by police who arrested him on suspicion of stealing a bicycle.

The case has prompted rare public criticism of police behaviour.

Dozens of people waited outside the courthouse on Monday to hear the verdict of the appeal.

Police stand guard as people gather outside Shanghai Higher People's Court for the verdict of Yang Jia's appeal on 20/10/08
People gathered outside the Shanghai court for the verdict

One man told the Associated Press news agency that Yang Jia "represents the people's power. And we don't have it."

'Killed deliberately'

Yang was found guilty of forcing his way into a Shanghai police station on 1 July after throwing petrol bombs at a security guard.

He then slashed several police officers - killing six and seriously injuring four other people.

Local media speculated he had been motivated by bitterness over his treatment by police while being interrogated over the theft of a bicycle last year. One report suggested he claimed to have been beaten.

While the death penalty is strongly supported in China, many people have been uneasy with the details of the case and the fact that the original trial was held behind closed doors.

As Yang's appeal got under way last week, some supporters wore t-shirts with his face on them, but were quickly dispersed by police.

Presiding Judge Xu Wei said on Monday that it was clear Yang "killed deliberately".

"What Yang Jia did was extremely cruel and it had a very bad influence on society," he told the Shanghai Higher People's court.

The sentence will now go to China's highest court for final review, a procedure that was introduced last year in an effort to reduce the country's high number of executions.

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