Police deny torturing China’s former soccer chief

April 26th, 2012 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Shengyang (Liaoning Province), April 26 (IANS) Chinese police have denied a claim by the country’s former soccer head Xie Yalong that he was tortured into confessing to bribe-taking.

The 56-year-old Xie, who stood trial on 12 counts of bribery worth over 1.7 million yuan ($273,000), told a court in Dandong in Liaoning province Tuesday that he had admitted to the crimes he did not commit because he feared for his life, reports Xinhua.

The former director of the Football Administrative Center said he was tortured with electric shocks, beaten, and doused with water while being interrogated.

Liu Leguo, deputy director of Liaoning Public Security Bureau which oversaw the investigative team on Chinese soccer corruption, denounced Xie’s claim as “groundless”.

“We have substantial evidences to refute Xie Yalong’s claim,” said Liu.

“He and his attorneys claimed to the media, without any evidence, that he had been beaten up by police. They should be held responsible for what they said.”

Four police officers on the investigative team told Xinhua that they had never roughed up Xie.

Xie was one of the two highest ranking soccer officials put on trial for bribery. His successor as China’s top soccer administrator, Nan Yong, went on trial on similar charges, a day after proceedings opened against Xie.

Nan, charged on 17 counts of bribery totalling 1.489 million yuan ($236,000), confessed to having taken money and gifts but did not admit to the crimes.

Four former Chinese international players — Shen Si, Qi Hong, Jiang Jin and Li Ming — stood before the court Wednesday to face the charges of taking a total of 8 million yuan ($1.27 million) to fix a league game.

China’s latest wave of crackdown on soccer corruption has brought down dozens of officials, referees, club managers and players.

In trials early this year, referees’ chief Zhang Jianqiang, Chinese Football Association vice chairman Yang Yimin and World Cup referee Lu Jun had been sentenced to 12, 10.5, and 5.5 years in prison respectively on the charges of taking bribes.

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