Pair get 1.1m yuan each after decade in jail for murder they didn't commit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 4:05am

The high court in Zhejiang province has ruled that two men wrongfully convicted of murder should each receive about 1.1 million yuan (HK$1.25 million) in compensation after serving 10 years in jail.

In an online statement posted yesterday, the court said Zhang Gaoping his nephew, Zhang Hui , would each be awarded 656,000 yuan for loss of personal freedom, and 450,000 yuan for mental damage.

Zhang Gaoping was sentenced to death, with a two-year reprieve, and his nephew was given a 15-year prison sentence after they were tortured into confessing to the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl in 2003.

The Zhangs, who were truck drivers and offered a ride to the victim a decade ago, claimed after their imprisonment that they were innocent.

They said their convictions were the result of torture by police, and that fellow inmates in the detention house also beat them into confessing.

They were released in late March after new evidence, including DNA findings, identified another possible suspect, and authorities admitted that the evidence presented in the trials was not sufficient to warrant the convictions.

One of the Zhangs yesterday declined an interview request by phone, saying they both believed that talking to foreign media would upset local authorities. He did not say whether he was Zhang Gaoping or Zhang Hui.

Zhang Hui was about to get married before he was jailed, and Zhang Gaoping was one of the richest men in his village, as he was running a logistics business.

In an earlier interview with Chinese media, when asked if he would forgive those who wrongfully imprisoned him, Zhang Gaoping said he was still filled with hatred for them and would not forgive them.

On the day he was released, Zhang said to the judges: "Today you are judges and prosecutors, but your descendants won't necessarily be the same. If there is no change in institutions and laws, your descendants could be wrongfully accused like us."