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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 13:58 GMT
China urged to ban death penalty
The London-based human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has called for a moratorium on the death penalty in China, saying that the country's justice system is in no condition to offer fair trials.

In a report, Amnesty says many innocent people were being executed by what it described as a dysfunctional criminal justice system.

It cited four cases in which police allegedly used torture to elicit confessions from suspects who were later sentenced to death.

Amnesty International said a moratorium would be a first step towards the total abolition of the death penalty.

It said that its report came a week after a Chinese legislator suggested China executes 10,000 people a year.

China's Foreign Ministry has reacted by saying that the government is in no position to abolish the death penalty, which it said is applied with the utmost caution.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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