Chinese man seeks US$2.7 million compensation after 25 years in jail for a murder he didn’t commit

Former prisoner alleges he was tortured in custody, leaving him with severe depression and deformed fingers and toes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 May, 2018, 6:49am

A Chinese man who spent more than 25 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit filed for almost 17 million yuan (US$2.7 million) in compensation on Wednesday.

Liu Zhonglin was arrested in October 1990 on suspicion of homicide, news portal Thepaper.cn reported, and his time in jail was described as the longest known period of wrongful detention in Chinese history.

In 1994 he was found guilty of killing a 19-year-old woman and given a suspended death penalty, later commuted to life in prison.

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Liu was arrested at the age of 22 after he found the body of Zheng Dianrong on local farmland in his hometown in Huimin village in the northeastern province of Jilin.

The teenager had been missing for a year.

He later said he did not have a lawyer while being interrogated by police and his compensation claim alleges he was tortured in custody.

During the initial interrogations he repeatedly confessed and then denied his guilt, The Beijing News reported last month.

Zhang Yupeng, a lawyer who later reviewed the case, told the newspaper that there were numerous contradictions in these confessions.

Liu steadfastly maintained his innocence after conviction and continued to appeal throughout his 9,218 days behind bars.

Jilin High Court eventually decided to re-examine the case in 2012, but he was not freed until January 2016.

Two years later, on April 20 this year, he was finally acquitted on the grounds of “insufficient facts and unclear evidence”. It is not known whether the real perpetrator of the case has been found.

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Now, suffering mental and physical trauma and with no job skills, 50-year-old Liu has applied for compensation totalling 16.67 million yuan.

On Wednesday afternoon Liu and his two lawyers – Qu Zhenhong and Li Huiqing – submitted an compensation application citing violation of personal freedom, effects to health and family travel costs among other reasons.

He has also demanded public apologies from media channels to restore his blighted reputation.

Thepaper described his time in jail as the longest known period of wrongful imprisonment in Chinese history.

Since his release Liu has been suffering from physical and mental illness, according to the report.

His fingers and toes had become deformed, and one toe had to be amputated, due to necrosis. He is also suffering from serious depression.