Chinese Man Receives Huge Payout For Wrongful Imprisonment

on November 02 2012 1:22 PM
Chinese Yuan
China's yuan. Reuters

A Chinese man who was wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit received a significant compensation from local authorities.

According to a report in the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, the Guangdong Higher People's Court awarded Huang Liyi, a native of the city of Kaiping, a total of 820,000 yuan ($131,420) for “loss of freedom” and “psychological damages.”

"The compensation from the State is one of the highest in the country," said Dai Yannan, a civil rights lawyer from the Henan  Boshi legal firm.

Huang had languished in prison for 11 years. He was convicted in November 2000 on charges of fraud and sentenced to life imprisonment. Appeals against his sentence to a higher local court were consistently rejected until 2009, when a new trial was ordered. Huang was subsequently declared not guilty due to "insufficient evidence" and released in July 2010.

"You are basically dragging the government into the court when you try to overturn a wrongful conviction," Dai added. "You need a lot of solid evidence to tell the government that they are wrong. Even a child feels humiliated when forced to admit making a mistake."

According to the BBC, the Communist Party's Legal Daily newspaper called the court award a "hard-won result".

The Global Times newspaper reported on a similar case – Zhao Zuohai, a farmer from Henan Province, who received 650,000 yuan in compensation after spending 11 years in jail after a wrongful conviction of murder.

In another case, Wang Zifa received 890,000 yuan in August 2010 after a wrongful conviction of murder.

"The compensation rate is usually determined by the average daily pay of local workers over the previous year," said Liu Wei, an attorney at the Beijing Chenghui Law Firm.

A human rights lawyer named Liu Xiaoyuan, who represents Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, told the BBC that compensation in such cases “should be far higher than the economic losses resulting from the lost freedom.”

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