Free, but still fight­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CAO YIN

Nian Bin spent eight years on death row af­ter be­ing wrong­fully con­victed of killing two chil­dren with poi­son in 2006. In Au­gust 2014, he was ex­on­er­ated and freed by an ap­peals court, which said the ev­i­dence pro­duced at his trial had been in­suf­fi­cient to guar­an­tee a law­ful con­vic­tion.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Fu­jian prov­ince na­tive stepped back into the spot­light. He sub­mit­ted a sec­ond ap­pli­ca­tion for State com­pen­sa­tion, ask­ing the pub­lic se­cu­rity au­thor­i­ties in Fuzhou, the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, and Ping­tan county, where he lived, to pay 4.12 mil­lion yuan for im­proper use of hand­cuffs and shack­les dur­ing his years in prison that left him with per­ma­nent in­juries.

“The il­le­gal use of these re­straints in­jured my brother, and now he is un­able to live a nor­mal life,” said Nian Jian­lan, Nian Bin’s older sis­ter.

She said the ap­pli­ca­tion in­cluded the cost of Nian’s med­i­cal treat­ment since leav­ing prison, “as well as the money I spent dur­ing the past decade to clear his name”.

How­ever, on May 26, a med­i­cal ex­pert hired by the Fuzhou Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Bureau to ex­am­ine Nian Bin sub­mit­ted a re­port in which he claimed the in­juries did not ex­ist.

Mean­while, ev­i­dence pre­vi­ously pro­vided by Nian Bin’s lawyer out­lin­ing the in­juries was deemed in­suf­fi­cient.

Now, the fam­ily’s lawyer is re­quest­ing that the pro­vin­cial high court re­hears the ap­pli­ca­tion in an at­tempt to iden­tify whether Nian Bin’s in­juries are re­lated to the im­proper use of re­straints.

That seems par for the course, given that since his con­vic­tion was quashed, his ap­pli­ca­tion for State com­pen­sa­tion has been far from smooth.

In 2014, he ap­plied for com­pen­sa­tion of more than 150 mil­lion yuan ($22 mil­lion) for the time he spent in prison and the psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma he ex­pe­ri­enced as a re­sult.

In Fe­bru­ary 2015, Nian Bin was awarded 1.19 mil­lion yuan by the pro­vin­cial high peo­ple’s court.

His fam­ily re­fused to ac­cept the de­ci­sion, and ap­pealed to the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, China’s top ju­di­cial cham­ber.

“Such a sum wouldn’t solve our dif­fi­cul­ties. Our house in Fu­jian was de­stroyed (by rel­a­tives of the dead chil­dren), and I lost my job be­cause I was busy with my brother’s ap­peal,” Nian Jian­lan said. “Our fam­ily also had debts at the time, so we couldn’t even af­ford daily liv­ing ex­penses.”

In Jan­uary, the top court up­held the orig­i­nal award, say­ing it was the largest sum the pro­vin­cial court was able to pro­vide in cases such as Nian Bin’s.

How­ever, the court sug­gested the fam­ily should in­stead ap­ply to the lo­cal pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau for com­pen­sa­tion. Un­der the State Com­pen­sa­tion Law, ap­pli­cants are al­lowed to change the tar­get of their ap­pli­ca­tions and new in­for­ma­tion can be in­cluded in the sub­mis­sion.

Fu­jian prov­ince, re­ceived com­pen­sa­tion of 1.19 mil­lion yuan for phys­i­cal in­juries he sus­tained dur­ing 2,800 days in prison af­ter be­ing wrong­fully con­victed of killing two chil­dren with poi­son in 2006 — 550,000 yuan was awarded as com­pen­sa­tion for Nian’s men­tal an­guish.

Nie Shu­bin, who was con­victed and ex­e­cuted for rape and mur­der 22 years ago, were granted com­pen­sa­tion of 2.68 mil­lion yuan af­ter a re­trial last year quashed Nie’s con­vic­tion. Part of the pay­ment — 1.3 mil­lion yuan — was awarded for the par­ents’ men­tal an­guish.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chen Man (cen­ter) speaks to the me­dia af­ter his con­vic­tion was over­turned.

Nian Bin

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