Prosecutors in Beijing met lawyers for Lei Yang and the five police officers who are now under investigation over the death of Lei to ask their advice on dealing with the case on Wednesday, according to the Weibo account of People’s Procuratorate of Beijing.
The prosecutors also said they will “do careful analysis” of the advice and documents submitted to them so as to guarantee the investigation proceeds “in accordance with the law and norms.”
The death of Lei, a 29-year-old man and a former graduate of prestigious Renmin University, ignited a huge sensation on China’s online community last month as he died after being caught by the police of the Dongxiaokou county police station in Changping district of Beijing in an alleged anti-brothel raid in front of a foot massage parlor on the night of May 7. Many people on the Internet commented on the brutal use of force and asked whether ordinary people in China were safe from abuse by officers.
Beijing prosecutors announced on June 1 that they were investigating the five police officers involved in Lei’s death, after Lei’s relatives submitted an offense report on Lei’s death to the People’s Procuratorate of Beijing Municipality on May 17.
In the report, Lei’s relatives said that they had seen “with their own eyes” bruises throughout Lei’s body, evidence of use of “external force” on Lei, and that the surveillance video indicated he did not have enough time to have the service of a prostitute at the foot massage parlor on the night of May 7.
Lei’s relatives accused the police officers of “misuse of authority,” “intentional injury”, as well as “falsification of evidence.”
It is rare for prosecutors in China to investigate the police for such kind of charges, and the fact that the prosecutors decided to investigate into the police represents a “critical legal step” in Lei’s case.
According to Lei’s lawyer, quoted by the Beijing News on Wednesday, the lawyers’ main intent is to defend the legal interest of Lei’s relatives, and identify the true cause of Lei’s death and whether Lei solicited prostitution or not.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the five police officers said he is now still “going through the formality”, and specific details should be subject to official announcement.
According to a professor from the China University of Political Science and Law who was quoted by the US China Press, the autopsy result should be able to prove whether Lei had solicited prostitution or not.
In an interview with BTV on May 11, a service woman at the foot massage parlor said that Lei paid 200 yuan (around $30) on May 7 to the prostitute and she helped Lei masturbate, according to thepaper.cn. However, Gao Chunzheng, the police officer in charge of the expected trial of the case, told People’s Daily on May 11 that they found a condom at the scene, and the DNA could prove Lei used prostitute service that night.
According to the rules of criminal procedure of People’s Procuratorate of China, while the procuratorate will send staff to supervise the autopsy process, relatives should also be at the scene during the autopsy when the reason of the death is not yet determined. Usually, a third-party accrediting agency will do the autopsy which includes body surface examination, anatomy, toxic analysis, alcohol examination as well as pathematology examination. The autopsy process often lasts around one month.
Besides, the whole autopsy process should be recorded through video and photos.
On Thursday, an article which claimed to be the autopsy result of Lei’s body spread on China’s social media, which was termed by the authorized accrediting agency as fake. The agency said the autopsy is still undergoing, and there is no complete report on it yet.