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Experts laud apology to 19 wrongfully sentenced

By Zhu Lixin in Hefei and Cao Yin in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-09 08:04

A court's apology to 19 people sentenced for fraud but later found to be innocent has won widespread approval among judicial specialists.

The Anhui provincial High People's Court posted the announcement in Bozhou Evening News on Monday, saying that it apologized sincerely to 19 litigants involved in a case of allegedly fraudulent fundraising in 2012.

The 19 were sentenced, in accordance with a verdict reached by the court in July 2012, to a range of prison terms for illegally raising funds from the public.

But after a retrial on Oct 30 last year, the provincial prosecutors decided to stop the case, saying there would be no further investigation, the announcement said. The 19 people applied for compensation and they have all been paid, it added.

The court also explained that the announcement aimed to help rebuild the reputations of the 19 people involved.

The announcement was made on Aug 25, with the names of the 19 litigants printed at the bottom of it.

An officer of the court, who refused to be named, confirmed on Tuesday that the announcement was placed by the court, but he did not release more details.

Qiu Ping, who used to be a lawyer and is now a media officer in Bozhou, said he had followed the case for some time and the court should be applauded.

"The move is a strong enforcement of the rule of law put forward by the leadership two years ago, representing the central government's determination to investigate and correct wrongful verdicts," he said.

Zhao Li, a criminal lawyer in Beijing, said the newspaper announcement is a good way to alleviate conflicts between courts and litigants.

"The move shows humanity, effectively showing our courts' attitude in dealing with their mistakes and transforming our judicial bodies' coldblooded image from the past," Zhao said.

He suggested that other courts across the country could learn from the high people's court in Anhui, adding that legal credibility would then also get a boost.

Under a work report made by the Supreme People's Court in March, Chinese courts acquitted 825 defendants for lack of evidence and reasonable doubt in 2013.

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