1996 mur­der probe to be re­heard

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By GAO BO gaobo@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Le­gal au­thor­i­ties in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion plan to re­hear a case of rape and mur­der 18 years after the con­vict­ed­man­was ex­e­cuted, Mir­ror News re­ported in Beijing on Thurs­day.

The decision comes as le­gal au­thor­i­ties across the coun­try seek to cor­rect mis­car­riages of jus­tice and achieve greater trans­parency and in­de­pen­dence, the re­port said.

But another new­sout­let, thep­a­per.cn, re­ported later on Thurs­day that the con­victed man’s fam­ily and lawyer have yet to re­ceive any con­firmed news from the le­gal au­thor­i­ties.

Hugjiltu, an 18-year-old mem­ber of theMon­go­lian eth­nic group, was con­victed of rap­ing and chok­ing a woman to death in Ho­hhot, the re­gion’s cap­i­tal, in April 1996. The vic­tim was at­tacked in a pub­lic toi­let at a tex­tile fac­tory.

He was ex­e­cuted in June that year, 61 days after the woman was killed. The au­thor­i­ties had launched a crack­down on vi­o­lent crime, and se­ri­ous cases were be­ing fast-tracked through the courts. Hugjiltu was con­victed de­spite a lack of ev­i­dence, and in 2005 another man told po­lice he had com­mit­ted the crime.

The Mir­ror News re­port says Hugjiltu rushed into the toi­let to help when he heard the vic­tim cry out. He found her dead, and called the po­lice. He came un­der sus­pi­cion, and after a 48-hour in­ter­ro­ga­tion he con­fessed that he had raped and killed the woman.

His par­ents did not be­lieve he could com­mit such a crime, and they started a cam­paign to prove his in­no­cence.

In Oc­to­ber 2005, a sus­pect named Zhao Zhi­hong con­fessed to 10 cases of rap­ing and killing women, in­clud­ing the one thatHugjiltu was con­victed of. How­ever, this crime was not listed on Zhao’s indictment when he ap­peared in court.

Zhao was sentenced to death, but after the hear­ing he wrote a let­ter to pros­e­cu­tors in De­cem­ber 2006 say­ingHugjiltu had been in­no­cent.

Zhao was able to de­scribe the at­tack in de­tail, and showed po­lice where it had hap­pened, an of­fi­cer han­dling the cases told the me­dia in 2011. Zhao’s ex­e­cu­tion was post­poned.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping warned of se­ri­ous prob­lems in China’s le­gal sys­tem and pledged to end mis­car­riages of jus­tice when he spoke at the Fourth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China a week ago, Xin­huaNews Agency re­ported.

He said the ju­di­cial sys­tem was dogged by un­fair tri­als and cor­rupt judges.

In­Au­gust, theFu­jianProvin­cialHighCourt ac­quit­ted shop­keeper Nian Bin six years after he was sentenced to death by an in­ter­me­di­ate peo­ple’s court for killing his neigh­bor’s two chil­dren. It was the fi­nal rul­ing after four guilty ver­dicts and sub­se­quent ap­peals.

Nian, from Ping­tan county, be­came a sus­pect be­cause he was not on good terms with the vic­tims’ fam­ily at the time of the at­tack in 2006.

Inan­oth­er­case, LiHuail­iang, from Pingding­shan, He­nan prov­ince, re­ceived 780,000 yuan ($127,600) in com­pen­sa­tion in De­cem­ber 2013 for the 4,282 days he spent in prison, plus 200,000 yuan for men­tal suf­fer­ing. He was wrongly im­pris­oned for the rape and mur­der of a teenage girl in 2001. Yuan Hui in Ho­hhot con­trib­uted to the story.

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