South China Judge In Detention Died NOT Murdered

An official investigation into the death of a 38-year-old former judge who was being held in detention shows he died from "adult sudden death syndrome."

Investigators say Li Chaoyang was an uncooperative prisoner while being held in detention in Xing'an county in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and cuts on his face and other injuries were caused by a fall during an escape attempt.

Li Chaoyang, a judge with the local Pingle County Court, had been accused of taking bribes and was detained by local prosecutors on March 23.

Shi Shaosen, head of the Guilin municipal law enforcement supervisory section and the chief investigator of the case, said the prisoner was not maltreated.

"Li Chaoyang's sudden death conforms with adult sudden death syndrome," said Shi citing a forensic report at a news briefing held here on Sunday.

Shi would not take questions from reporters but said the investigation was conducted by law-enforcement agencies from the Guilin city and the Guangxi regional government.

The forensic report did not provide a pathological cause of Li's sudden death such as a heart attack or brain aneurysm.

Detention center officials say they found Li unconscious in his cell on the morning of April 2. He died later in hospital.

Li's relatives claimed there were wounds on his body, a gash across his lip and he was missing one of his front teeth. They questioned the cause of his death and wrote about it on a blog that was later picked by China Courts Online.

Pictures on the internet that purport to be Li, but don't show his face, reveal a body of a man that is battered and bruised with a gash across the upper lip.

"The investigation proves Li Chaoyang's case was handled according to legal procedures and strictly according to the law," said Shi, "there were no reports that torture was used to extract a confession, or bodily harm caused by guards, or an assault by cell mates."

Li was charged with taking bribes on March 23 and was first held at the No.1 Detention House of Guilin. He was transferred to the detention center of Xing'an, a suburban county of Guilin City, three days later.

The joint investigation into Li's death found that Li was mentally unstable and would not stop shouting and refused to return his cell after an exercise period.

Investigators say Li attempted to escape many times and detention center officials say were forced to shackle him.

The investigative group was told that on March 28, Li again attempted to escape but tripped and fell, hitting his face on a piece of angle iron, severely cutting his upper lip cut and knocking out one of his front teeth. He was taken to hospital for treatment and had a six-cm-long cut on his lip sutured, say investigators.

Investigators they were told that Li refused further medical treatment in the days that followed.

The forensic report compiled by a the Guilin Medical Sciences College Hospital on Saturday ruled out violent beatings, suffocation, or poisoning as the cause of Li's death and concluded that Li died of adult sudden death syndrome that might have been sparked by an unstable state of mind, and abnormal sleeping and eating habits.

Li's relatives have not yet made a public statement regarding the report's findings.

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