Court owes vic­tim of mis­car­riage of jus­tice an apol­ogy

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

year, Liu Zhonglin, from North­east China’s Jilin prov­ince, had his con­vic­tion for mur­der over­turned. On Jan 7, he re­ceived 4.6 mil­lion yuan ($680,202) in com­pen­sa­tion from the gov­ern­ment. Bei­jing News com­ments:

Liu was set free in 2016. Be­fore that, he had al­ready been im­pris­oned for 9,217 days, or over 20 years.

It is not hard to imag­ine how much Liu suf­fered. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, he had tire­lessly been fil­ing com­plaints about be­ing wrong­fully con­victed both in prison and after be­ing set free, and his rel­a­tives also worked hard to have his in­no­cence rec­og­nized by the court for more than 10 years.

Jus­tice was fi­nally done in April when the court ad­mit­ted he had been wrong­fully con­victed.

The State rec­og­nizes his suf­fer­ing, too, as about 2 mil­lion yuan of the com­pen­sa­tion he re­ceived is for his emo­tional suf­fer­ing. That has set a high­est record for cases of this kind.

In 2014, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court is­sued a guid­ing doc­u­ment that set the stan­dards for com­pen­sa­tion for emo­tional suf­fer­ing for those who were wrongly found guilty, say­ing the amount should be re­lated to the faults of the State em­ploy­ees con­cerned, the ac­tual suf­fer­ing of the vic­tim, as well as the av­er­age liv­ing stan­dards where the vic­tim lives.

The stan­dards are not so de­tailed, there­fore dis­cus­sions about the amount in ac­tual cases have never ceased. The high amount of com­pen­sa­tion Liu re­ceived for his emo­tional suf­fer­ing is progress be­cause it shows the State re­spects the per­sonal dig­nity of cit­i­zens and bears the re­spon­si­bil­ity for wrongs com­mit­ted by its staff.

How­ever, be­sides the com­pen­sa­tion, Liu should get a sin­cere apol­ogy from the ju­di­cial staff who wrongly sent him to prison for over 20 years.

Ju­di­cial staff should bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for the wrong ver­dicts they make. Mak­ing an apol­ogy to the vic­tim should be part of the move. The staff who wrongly sent Liu to prison 20 years ago should of­fer Liu a sin­cere apol­ogy.

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