Wrongfully jailed man compensated

By Wang Jingqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-14 07:03
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BEIJING - A man who was wrongfully jailed 11 years for murder received 650,000 yuan ($96,000) in compensation on Thursday, authorities in Henan province said.

Wrongfully jailed man compensated

Zhao Zuohai holds a cash check worth 650,000 yuan in compensation from local authorities on Thursday. A wrongful conviction by the Shangqiu Intermediate People’s Court jailed Zhao for 11 years. [China News Service] 

The amount includes State compensation and allowances, the Intermediate People's Court in Shangqiu city ruled on Wednesday.

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Zhao Zuohai, 57, received the compensation on Thursday morning from Song Haiping, president of the Intermediate Court, Henan Higher People's Court spokesman Yuan Hegang said at a press conference.

Song and other local officials visited Zhao on Tuesday and apologized to him for the wrongful conviction. They reached the agreement for the compensation at midnight on Wednesday and Zhao said he was satisfied with the amount.

Yuan said the compensation was made in line with the State Compensation Law, including 450,000 yuan for jailing Zhao for 4,019 days.

The rest of the 200,000 yuan forms the allowances for supporting Zhao's life, Yuan said.

Zhao spent 11 years in jail when the man he allegedly murdered turned up alive on April 30. Zhao was declared innocent and acquitted last Sunday.

When Zhao was in jail, his wife remarried. Two of his four children were adopted while the other two became migrant workers.

Wrongfully jailed man compensated
This photo taken on May 12, 2010 shows Zhao Zuohai, who had been wrongly imprisoned for over 10 years, returned to the home of one of his relatives in Tuocheng County, central China's Henan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

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

"It was better to be dead than alive," he told the Beijing News.

Zhao said all he wants now is to build a new house and have his children back.

As for his wrongful conviction, he just wanted "those police officers who tortured me to be punished".

Local police, court and prosecuting authorities are investigating the case and have promised to penalize those responsible for the wrong conviction.

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

"Confessions extracted through torture are wrong," Shangqiu's police chief Xu Dagang said on Wednesday.

"Police officers should learn to handle criminal cases in a more intelligent and scientific manner."

Xinhua contributed to this story