Chinese man wrongly jailed for 23 years sues for compensation

The painter was arrested in 1992 after his landlord was found dead in a burned down house

Chen Man and his lawyer will seek compensation of 9,660,000 yuan (€1.328 million) from the Hainan Higher People’s Court.

Chen Man and his lawyer will seek compensation of 9,660,000 yuan (€1.328 million) from the Hainan Higher People’s Court.

 

In a landmark case, a Chinese painter and decorator who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he did not commit is suing the government for nearly 10 million yuan (€1.375 million) in compensation.

Chen Man and his lawyer will seek compensation of 9,660,000 yuan (€1.328 million) from the Hainan Higher People’s Court for the 8,437 days he spent falsely imprisoned.

Mr Chen, who is from Sichuan, had a painting and decorating company in Haikou on the southern island of Hainan.

He was detained by police on December 25th, 1992, two days after his landlord was found dead in a burned down house in an apparent homicide.

Mr Chen was given the death sentence suspended for two years by a court in Haikou in 1994, a sentence that usually means life in prison.

However, his family always maintained his innocence and his lawyer, Wang Wanqiong claimed that Mr Chen had been tortured into making a confession. In February 2015, China’s top court, the Supreme People’s Court ordered his case to be re-opened, and the retrial took place in Zhejiang province.

His case was the latest in a series of wrongful convictions that have been overturned in China as the government emphasises its commitment to rule of law and to clamp down on forced confessions.

More than 99 per cent of criminal defendants in China are found guilty.

When his release was announced, Hainan’s top judge, Fu Qin, bowed to Chen in apology on behalf of the court, which issued the death sentence.

According to media reports, there were questions about the fairness of his trial at the time, with his solicitor identifying 18 contradictions in his testimony, which she said was because he was strangled and beaten with sticks and steel rods.

At the retrial, both the prosecutors and defence lawyers asked for Mr Chen to be freed.

In another high-profile case of wrongful conviction, 26 police officers, judges and prosecutors in Inner Mongolia have been given demerits over the case of Huugjilt, a teenager who executed in 1996 for the rape and murder of a woman in Hohhot.

The real murderer was caught and confessed to the crime nine years later and Huugjilt’s conviction was overturned.