Court rejects appeal for review of murderer's case

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2007, 12:00am

A request by the widow of executed Shaanxi mass murderer Qiu Xinghua to conduct a postmortem psychiatric assessment of her husband and review the death penalty decision handed down by a lower court was rejected by the Supreme People's Court on Sunday.

The case was sent back for review to the Shaanxi Higher People's Court, which upheld the execution order last year, and is expected to announce the results of its reappraisal within six months.

If He Ranfeng , Qiu's wife, is not satisfied with the decision, she could ask the Supreme People's Court to review the case again. '[But] it's hard to expect that the Shaanxi Higher People's Court will correct its own mistakes,' said Ms He's lawyer, Chen Zhihua . 'It just will take us more time to get the Supreme Court to review the case.'

Qiu, 47, killed 11 people last year and was executed on December 28 just before an automatic Supreme People's Court review of death penalty cases came into effect.

Public doubts about the case grew when experts suggested Qiu might have been mentally ill when he carried out the slayings, but provincial courts rejected requests for psychiatric tests.

In a previous interview, Ms He said she would consider suing prosecutors and judges involved in the conviction if the verdict was overturned. This is the first time a relative of an executed defendant has asked for a review of a death penalty and raised the prospect of holding prosecutors and judges legally accountable for their decisions.