Friday, December 2, 2016

21 Years

21 years.

That's how long it has been since Nie Shubin was executed for the crimes of rape and murder, crimes that the Supreme People's Court of China just ruled he did not commit:
Amid emotional scenes in the courtroom, judges ruled that Nie's original trial didn't "obtain enough objective evidence," saying there were serious doubts about the time of death, murder weapon and cause of death.

Another man, Wang Shujin, confessed to the crime that Nie was executed for in 2005 -- 10 years after Nie was executed.

For years, it seemed no one would listen, but Zhang [Huanzhi, Nie's mother] later found an unlikely ally in the People's Daily -- the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party. It ran a scathing commentary in September 2011 that asked: "In a case where someone was clearly wronged, why has it been so difficult to make it right?"

"Rehabilitation means little to the dead, but it means a lot to his surviving family and all other citizens," the paper said. "We can no longer afford to let Nie's case drag on."

Many have viewed Zhang's plight -- and the case involving her only son -- as an egregious example of widespread police torture, deficient due process and lax review of death sentences.
China executes more people each year than any other country, and until 2013, police could use torture to obtain confessions; it wasn't until that year that the Supreme People's Court banned that practice. Psychological research has demonstrated that even without physical torture, police can get people to confess to crimes they did not commit. And they can do it using interrogation tactics that are perfectly legal. Even after the banning of physical torture, how many people in China could have been convicted and executed based on false confessions?

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