Local authorities to investigate overturned conviction of man after 26 years

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/10 23:10:21

Zhang Yuhuan in his old house Photo: Screenshot of CCTV News

In response to the recently overturned conviction of Zhang Yuhuan who had spent 26 years in jail, police in East China's Jiangxi Province confirmed on Monday that the accountability investigation and re-investigation of the 1993 murder case will be arranged by the relevant local authorities, media reports said. 

The local authorities will keep the public updated if any new action or information concerning the investigations comes up. 

On August 4, the Supreme People's Court of Jiangxi Province announced that Zhang Yuhuan - who was previously convicted for child murder and has been in custody for 26 years - is "not guilty" based on a lack of sufficient evidence. 

It has been 9,778 days since Zhang was detained in October 1993, marking the longest conviction that has been overturned so far. The Supreme People's Court of Jiangxi apologized to Zhang for their misjudgment, and granted him permission to apply for state compensation. 

Zhang Yuhuan's case has drawn wide public attention and sparked controversy over the authenticity of previous interrogations, as Zhang revealed during several interviews that his earlier confession was made under coercion by the police. "I request that judicial authorities hold accountable those who sought improper means to extort a confession, to make up for the 26 years I have lost," he said. 

Zhang's attorney Wang Fei told cnr.cn that the long duration of the case should not become an obstacle in digging out the truth. "It is a matter of attitude and determination," Wang said. 

Since 1993, when China reformed its judicial and law enforcement system, there have been great improvements in the restriction and prevention of police misdeeds, explained Wang. However, a few cases have still surfaced in recent years, which shows the judicial bodies need to take stricter measures to control and monitor police behavior, as well as adopting a zero-tolerance attitude and introducing policies to protect suspects' rights, including the presence of a defense lawyer in court, Wang noted. 

Wang Yihua, deputy head of the county government where Zhang currently lives, said that the wide attention that Zhang's case has received indicates the advancement of society based on the rule of law. 

The local community is also helping Zhang in returning to society. "We have volunteers to help with some psychological counseling, which is beneficial for him to adapt to today's society more easily," Wang explained. 

Global Times

Posted in: SOCIETY

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