A Chinese man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent five years in prison before being exonerated is seeking compensation after allegedly being tortured by prison officers, the South China Morning Post reports. He commissioned an artist to sketch his descriptions of the alleged torture. These horrific pictures, which show a man being beaten and tortured with various implements, are the result:
Liu Renwang, a villager from a town China's northern Shanxi province, is looking for $966,000 in compensation from a local court, which heard three separate appeals from him before dropping the conviction and releasing him in December 2013, the Morning Post reports.
He said he wanted to draw attention to the practice of extracting confessions through torture, in addition to getting compensation for his ordeal.
"I still feel frightened whenever I recall my time in jail," he said, according to the Morning Post. "My life was worse than being dead, and I kept thinking of committing suicide."
The torture drawings are being shared on China's most popular social media site Weibo. Though allegations of human rights abuses in Chinese prisons don't come as a surprise, Liu's story has gained attention partly because the drawings are just so shocking. As the New York Times writes:
Although such abuse has often been reported by foreign human rights groups and occasionally by Chinese reporters as well, the Chinese news media have rarely carried any representation of the subject as graphic as the drawings, which depict the ordeal of a man wrongly convicted of murder.
Although China is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, claims of abuse by authorities continue to surface. In a Human Rights Watch report titled "Tiger Chairs and Cell Bosses" released in May, the watchdog found that police abuse of people in custody still occurs.
“Despite several years of reform, police are torturing criminal suspects to get them to confess to crimes and courts are convicting people who confessed under torture,” said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director, in a statement. “Unless and until suspects have lawyers at interrogations and other basic protections and until police are held accountable for abuse, these new measures are unlikely to eliminate routine torture.”
(pictures via news site Pengpai's weibo account).