Monday, January 25, 2016

A peek inside China's military courts (1)

Parole & sentence reduction platform
Although decisions of China's military courts are not yet uploaded onto the Supreme People's Court's database, the careful observer is able to observe (albeit indirectly) some military court decisions through decisions of the civilian courts.  This blog will report on these cases from time to time.  One set of those decisions are decisions of civilian courts to reduce the sentences of persons convicted by the military courts but serving their sentences in civilian prisons, posted on the Supreme People's Court's platform on commutation, medical parole, and parole. That platform was established to provide transparency (and prevent corruption) in those procedures, as detailed in this blogpost (by this contributor).

According to discussions by Chinese lawyers focusing on military cases, military personnel sentenced to over 5 years incarceration are dishonorably discharged and transferred to civilian jails (with certain exceptions). Because court decisions concerning parole and sentence reduction are now required to be made public (with the usual exceptions), the decisions involving persons convicted by the military courts provide us with a peek inside the military courts.  Among the recent decisions found:
  • a PLA Navy man, originally convicted in 2002 to life in prison by a military court for providing intelligence to a foreign power,  who had his sentence reduced, so that he will have served a total of 26 years
  • a soldier convicted in 2012 of murdering his bride on their wedding night, who was also originally convicted to life in prison and had his sentence reduced, so that he will have served a total of about 23 years
  • a former captain convicted in 2006 of embezzlement and having huge assets of unknown origin and sentenced to 11 years in prison, is now released on parole
Editor's postscript: Susan Finder's posts about China, like the one above, continue to provide extraordinary information under circumstances where transparency could be far better. Brava and encore.

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