Senior judge suspended after wrongful conviction

Updated: 2010-05-19 14:47
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ZHENGZHOU - A chief judge at a central China provincial court has been put on leave in an investigation into a miscarriage of justice that put an innocent man behind bars for 11 years, a court spokesperson said Wednesday.

Chief Judge Hu Ye was suspended from duty at the Higher People's Court of Henan Province after Zhao Zuohai, who was jailed for a murder that never happened, was acquitted on May 9.

An investigation by a disciplinary investigation team and supervision office of the court found Hu was responsible for the review of Zhao's case 11 years ago.

Three other judges -- Chief Justice Zhang Yunsui, and judges Hu Xuanmin and Wei Xinsheng -- who were also involved in Zhao's wrongful conviction, have reportedly been suspended from their duties at the Intermediate People's Court in Shangqiu City.

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Zhao Zuohai, 57, was released from jail when the man he allegedly murdered turned up alive on April 30.

After his acquittal Zhao told reporters he had been forced to confess to murder, as he was beaten up during interrogations and tortured in order to stay awake for more than 30 days.

He was sentenced at Shangqiu Intermediate Court to death with a two-year reprieve. The sentence was later commuted to 29 years in prison.

Two police officers have been detained on suspicion of torturing Zhao to extract a confession and a third is still at large.

While Zhao was in jail, his wife remarried, two of his four children were adopted and the other two left home to become migrant workers.

Zhao has received 650,000 yuan (US$96,000) in compensation and an official apology.