China / Politics

Court rules against laojiao death penalty

By CAO YIN ( Updated: 2014-06-12 17:24

China's top court did not uphold the death penalty of two men accused of forcing a girl in Hunan province into prostitution, on Thursday, instead remanding the high-profile lawsuit for a new trial.

Qin Xing and Zhou Junhui, the principal suspects in Yongzhou, Hunan province, had been sentenced to death for organizing prostitution and forcing the then 11-year-old girl, Le Le (alias), to engage in prostitution, according to the first-instance verdict from the Yongzhou Intermediate People’s Court in 2008.

The case was retried twice, and the provincial high people's court made a judgment in 2012, upholding the original verdict and sentencing the two men to death.

However, the Supreme People's Court said in a statement that the sentences for Qin and Zhou were not reasonable as their behavior did not reach the “most serious” guidelines under the current Chinese Criminal Law.

New evidence also showed up during the review, which might affect the sentence of the two convicts, the top court said in the statement.

Therefore, the court decided to send the case back to the provincial high people's court for a retrial.

The case received much attention because of the victim's mother, Tang Hui.

Tang was sentenced to 18-months laojiao, or re-education through labor, in 2012 for repeatedly petitioning local authorities about the case.

She accused two police officers in Yongzhou of taking part in the rape of her daughter and of forcing the girl into prostitution, but they were not convicted.

The then 40-year-old mother was released within a week after her case caused public outrage and she applied for State compensation.

She failed in getting the compensation. She then sued the Yongzhou laojiao administrative committee at the local court and won the case in July 2013.

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