Two wrongly jailed Chinese get justice after 13 years

January 11th, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Zhengzhou (China), Jan 11 (Xinhua) Two men who were wrongly jailed on alleged robbery charges have finally found justice when a central China court corrected its 13-year-old mistake and declared they were innocent. A village post office in Biyang County of the central Henan Province was robbed of 8,200 yuan ($1,170) on the night of Nov 21, 1995. Within three weeks, the police arrested post office worker Zou Shujun and his friend Yuan Haiqiang, a mechanic at a local agricultural machinery station.

The two were spending the night in Zou’s office. Zou was 24 and Yuan 25.

The county court sentenced Zou and Yuan to jail Dec 12, 1996. The Intermediate Court in Zhumadian City, which has jurisdiction over Biyang County, upheld the ruling.

The real robbers, Zhang Fujun and Zhang Hongxi, were arrested at the end of 2002, two years after Zou and Yuan were released. But neither the county nor the city court moved to remedy the injustice.

For 13 years, Zou and Yuan pleaded innocence and petitioned for retrials. In their repeated petitions to the courts and the media, they claimed to have been beaten up and forced into confessing to a crime they never committed.

All their pleas fell on deaf ears until August 2008, when the Intermediate Court in Zhumadian City demanded a retrial under the pressure of the provincial legislature.

The Biyang County Court re-heard the case Dec 30, and decided that Zou and Yuan were innocent.

Last week, the intermediate court announced that three of its own officials had received administrative penalty for wrongly putting into jail the two men. Yuan Changsheng, an official with the county court, was also penalised.

Zou and Yuan are expected to get a total of 360,000 yuan in compensation, according to a state compensation agreement with the county court.

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