Chinese man jailed for 23 years freed after verdict overturned

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 4:28 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man walked free on Monday having spent the last 23 years in jail after a court overturned a murder and arson conviction, state media said, the latest wrongful verdict to be overturned in the country.

Chen Man was arrested in 1992, accused of burning down a house in which a man died. He was later given a suspended death penalty.

But after numerous appeals, a court found there was insufficient evidence to sustain the verdict and ordered him freed, the official China Daily reported on its website.

The government has tried to improve the way courts handle cases of miscarriages of justice under efforts by President Xi Jinping to bolster the rule of law and increase public confidence in the legal system.

Wrongful executions have stirred particular outrage, though the death penalty itself remains widely popular.

In 2014, a court posthumously acquitted an ethnic Mongol called Huugjilt who had been executed for raping and killing a woman in a public restroom. Another man was later sentenced to death for the crime.

State news agency Xinhua said late on Sunday that 27 people had been penalised over Huugjilt's wrongful conviction, mostly being given administrative punishments.

But one of them, a former deputy police chief, may face criminal charges, it said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)