A Chinese man who was wrongfully convicted for the death of two boys in the early 1990s has finally been reunited with his family after spending 27 years in prison.
Jiangxi Zhang Yuhuan, 52, was released from prison on Tuesday after his case was overturned and the Jiangxi Provincial High People’s Court pulled back its suspended death sentence, according to Unilad
- The tearful reunion took place in the rural village of Zhangjia in Jinxian County, Jiangxi Province.
- Zhang’s 83-year-old mother and his ex-wife, Song Xiaonv, were both present when he returned home, as seen in the video posted on Chinese social media.
- The reunion became too emotional for Song who collapsed during the event and had to be treated at a hospital.
- Zhang can also be seen crying while embracing his youngest son, who was only a toddler during his arrest in 1993, while his eldest was only 4 at the time. His family supported him throughout the wrongful conviction.
- The man and his wife filed for a divorce in 2001 after they felt the uncertainty of his possible release. Even though she remarried, Song never stopped helping her ex-husband in the case.
Lack of evidence:
Authorities reopened Zhang’s case after they discovered inconsistencies in his confession, the BBC
reported. He said he was tortured by the police and was forced to admit his crime.
- Tian Ganlin, a high court judge, said there was no evidence that proved Zhang was the killer of the two boys.
- “After we reviewed the materials, we have found there is no direct evidence that can prove Zhang’s conviction,” he said. “So we accepted the prosecutors’ suggestion and have declared Zhang innocent.”
- The court told Zhang that he is entitled to compensation for the wrongful conviction.
- “I’ll negotiate the exact amount of compensation with my client,” his lawyer, Wang Fei, said. “We’re also planning to ask for those who committed judicial miscarriages in the case to be held accountable.”
The crime: Zhang was arrested after authorities found the bodies of the 4-year-old and 6-year-old boys in October 1993.
- He became the prime suspect in the death of the two boys even though the police did not find enough evidence.
- Zhang was found guilty of intentional homicide in January 1995 and was handed a suspended death sentence.
- But two months later, the high court asked the intermediate court for a retrial, citing “unclear facts and insufficient evidence” as the reason.
- The retrial only happened in November 2001 and Zhang appealed against their decision.
- The high court re-opened his case in March 2019 and held a trial for Zhang in July 2020 where prosecutors recommended the man be acquitted for insufficient evidence.
- The killer of the two boys in 1993 remains a mystery.