Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chinese teenager executed 18 years ago is declared INNOCENT in rare U-turn by country's courts

The family of a Chinese teenager executed after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago, howled in anguish as he was declared innocent by a court today in a rare U-turn by the country's courts.

Hugjiltu was just 18 when he was found guilty of raping and murdering a woman in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, in 1996 and was put to death just 61 days after the woman was murdered.

But doubt was cast on the verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005, leading to the case being reopened by the Inner Mongolia Higher People's Court in Bobatu last month.

After the court in the autonomous region of northern China issued a statement today finding Hugjiltu not guilty, the dead man's mother, father and brother burned a copy of the decision on his grave in a highly charged protest.

In papers issued to the family at their home, the court ruled the original guilty verdict to be 'not consistent with the facts' and having 'insufficient evidence'.

As he delievered the papers Zhao Jianping, the deputy president of the court, made a profound apology for its mistake in sentencing the teenager, also known as Qoysiletu, to death

After Hugjiltu's mother Shang Aiyun had to be dragged from the teenager's grave as she wailed in pain, his brother Zhaoligetu told Sina.com: 'My mother wished him 'rest in peace' and hoped he could reincarnate.'

Mr Jianping gave Hugjiltu's parents compensation of 30,000 yuan (£3,093), the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The money was a personal donation by the head of the court, it added, rather than an official payment by the institution.

'This is an amazing thing the court did, to admit that they were wrong,' said Wang Gongyi, deputy director of the research institute of the Ministry of Justice.

'It also sends a clear message to the police and prosecutors around the country – if there's not enough evidence, don't impose wrongful convictions,' he told AFP. 'In the future this case will be singled out as what not to do and will influence the entire legal system.'

In Hugjiltu's case, authorities interrogated the teenager for 48 hours, after which he confessed to having raped and choked the woman in the toilet of a textile factory, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported last month.

After he was executed in June 1996, Hugjiltu's family tried for nearly two decades to prove his innocence.

Finally it was found Hugjiltu's confession did not match the autopsy report, was inconsistent with 'other evidence', and that DNA evidence presented at the trial did not definitively connect him to the crime.

Police in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia where the crime took place, said they had opened an investigation into the officers responsible for the original case, according to the Legal Evening News.

Original report here

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