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Wrongly imprisoned man seeks payment

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-04 02:09

47-year-old demands $618,000 in compensation for 12 years in jail

A man who served 12 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder in Henan province has demanded 3.79 million yuan ($618,000) in compensation.

Li Huailiang, 47, who was convicted of raping and killing 13-year-old Guo Ruina in 2001, was released on April 25 after the court announced his innocence.

On Monday afternoon, he went to the Pingdingshan Intermediate People's Court with his family and applied for State compensation.

Wang Yongjie, his attorney from Beijing Yijia Law Firm, said the amount is commensurate with Li's suffering while in detention.

"Li has high blood pressure and heart disease due to the long-term imprisonment," Wang said. "He almost died in 2006 from a heart attack."

A local court sentenced Li to 15 years in prison in September 2003, but the sentence was refuted by the Pingdingshan Intermediate People's Court in December 2003 for lack of evidence.

Li and the victim's family members appealed the sentence. Li claimed he was innocent and only confessed because he was tortured by police during the interrogation, while Guo Songzhang, the victim's father, claimed Li should receive the death sentence, Beijing Times reported.

Guo and his wife dedicatedly petitioned for a stronger punishment after the sentence. On May 17, 2004, Guo wrote a promise to the Pingdingshan court, in which he agreed to stop petitioning, but in return, the court had to sentence Li to life imprisonment or the death penalty.

The written promise was uploaded onto a micro blog by a netizen with the user name "news 805" on Feb 21 last year, and the court admitted afterward that the written promise did exist.

"We require that the Pingdingshan Intermediate People's Court sentence Li Huiliang to life, or better, the death penalty," the letter read according to a picture on the netizen's micro blog. "If the court makes such a sentence, we promise we will never petition again."

In August 2004, three months after the written promise was made, the court sentenced Li to death. However, the sentence was refuted by the Henan provincial High People's Court for lack of evidence in 2005.

The Pingdingshan court sentenced Li again to death penalty with two years' reprieve in April 2006, but the sentence was refuted for a third time since the prosecutor did not have sufficient evidence to prove that Li was the murderer.

The exposure of the written promise triggered public outcry, and the Pingdingshan court ruled that Li was innocent on April 25.

Li Aimei, his older sister, said her brother is unhealthy, both mentally and physically, after his release. He is unable to respond immediately when talking with others and has been suffering from high blood pressure.

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