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Avoid wrongful convictions by punishing wrongdoers | Updated: 2013-07-05 20:56

There must be an accountability system in place to hold wrongdoers responsible for their faults. If the authorities do not reflect on their own mistakes, similar unjust cases will happen again and again, said an article in the Southern Metropolis Daily (excerpts below).

After staying in prison for 17 years with a wrongful conviction, five innocent men in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, were finally set free and the judge apologized to them and admitted that the public security bureau, procuratorate and court should take responsibility for their case. The local public security bureau also extended its apology to the five innocent citizens who were wrongly imprisoned.

But the apology was not enough for the injustice suffered by these people.

It was reported that 168 people working for the public security bureau, procuratorate and court were involved in the case. Most of them have been promoted over the past 17 years. None of them took responsibility for the five innocent citizens.

Zhang Debao, former judge of the case, said that the main responsibility belongs to the judicial committee, but not to him.

The collective responsibility of the committee means that no one will be punished.

Like many other similar cases, the case will probably end up with State compensation, which is actually paid by public coffers, or taxpayers' money. The five people can apply for compensation to make up for their losses while in prison.

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