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Wrongfully jailed for 19 years, man seeks payment

By Cao Yin (China Daily) Updated : 2018-07-19

Convicted of poisoning two girls, he is freed after retrial, says he was tortured

A resident who had his name cleared after serving 19 years in prison, applied to a court in Jiangxi province for 41.4 million yuan ($6.1 million) in state compensation for his wrongful detention and conviction.

Li Jinlian, 68, and his lawyer sought the compensation in Jiangxi High People's Court on Wednesday morning - 47 days after a retrial in which the same court found him not guilty, based on insufficient evidence, of killing two children.

The compensation request was in four parts: 10.9 million yuan for Li's wrongful detention, 20 million yuan for his mental anguish, 10 million yuan for his physical punishment and 500,000 to cover the appeal's fees, his lawyer, Liu Chang, told China Daily.

Li also asked the high court to apologize in the media for the wrongful conviction and for damaging Li's reputation, the request said.

Li and the lawyer also went to the province's supervisory commission to submit materials on how Li was tortured during detention.

"The harm that my client suffered cannot be compensated simply by money," Liu said. "The more significant aspect of such high compensation is its effect on the rule of law. We hope judicial miscarriages can be avoided and judicial officials will strictly abide by the law."

Li said he would repair his shabby house if receives the compensation. He said he has not found work, and he was unsure what he should do.

"I did nothing after being freed. It's hard to have a sound sleep, as I often remember the past days that ruined my life," he said.

In October 1998, two children in the province's Suichuan county died after eating tainted candy they had picked up around their home. Li was named as the suspect and criminally detained.

A year later, Li was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for intentional homicide by Ji'an Intermediate People's Court. In 2000, the Jiangxi high court rejected Li's appeal and upheld the original ruling.

During his two-year reprieve, or probation, Li did not commit any new crimes, so his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. He also received five commutations for good behavior in prison.

He and his family continually petitioned the Supreme People's Court for a retrial.

The turnaround came in 2011, when the Supreme People's Court, after a review, ordered the Jiangxi high court to retry the case. But the original judgment was upheld following that review. Li's family appealed again.

In July 2017, the top court ordered another rehearing. The high court retried the case on May 18.

On June 1, Li was acquitted, as the chain of evidence in his case was incomplete and failed to prove the crime, the high court said.